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Home Office to pay for PM's Suffolk stay

PUBLISHED: 09:04 11 June 2009 | UPDATED: 10:05 06 July 2010

GOVERNMENT officials have finally offered to reimburse police for protecting Gordon Brown during his Suffolk holiday last year.

Nearly 12 months after the Prime Minister's two-week stay near Southwold, the Home Office has said it is willing to pay just over £90,000 to the Suffolk force.

GOVERNMENT officials have finally offered to reimburse police for protecting Gordon Brown during his Suffolk holiday last year.

Nearly 12 months after the Prime Minister's two-week stay near Southwold, the Home Office has said it is willing to pay just over £90,000 to the Suffolk force.

Senior officers from the cash-strapped constabulary had originally asked for the full cost of round-the clock security to be refunded. The total amount was between £160,000 and £161,000.

However, Suffolk police said they were delighted with the settlement offer, which was received in a letter on Monday.

In the offer, dated June 5, government officials said it would pay £91,416.

It is believed the Home Office declined to pay the total amount claimed, as the remaining £70,000 would have been incurred in the course of normal duties anyway.

Suffolk Constabulary is now expected to write a letter of acceptance in reply to the government's offer.

Phillip Clayton, Assistant Chief Officer of Suffolk police, said: “We are extremely pleased to have been granted funds of £91,416 to cover the costs of the Prime Minster's visit to Suffolk last summer.

“The constabulary incurred significant costs to pay for the security operation for the visit.

“Recouping these costs is vital as they had not been part of our planned budget and, coupled with the fact that we are scheduled to receive the lowest annual increases during the current period, have placed considerable pressure on our finances.”

The Suffolk force must find a way to slash millions of pounds from its annual budget after the shortfall in its government grant.

Mr Brown, his wife Sarah and their sons John, five, and Fraser, two, stayed in a Grade II listed Georgian house during their holiday in Stanningfield last July and August.

The cost of 24-hour security during their 16-day stay in the seven-bedroom property was estimated at £10,000 a day.

Earlier this year it was revealed that Suffolk's chief constable Simon Ash had written to Vernon Coaker, the policing minister, to ask for his force's costs to be reimbursed from central government funds.

Although requests such as this are not always granted, the Home Office said it would seek independent advice from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary.

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