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West Midlands Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner Tom McNeil says he has “serious fears” the government’s failure to form an emergency budget to tackle the energy crisis could result in an increase in crime.

He said: “Today’s news that the typical household energy bill could rise to £3,549 is devastating for families across the West Midlands.

“The fact that no emergency budget has been called to bring in measures to combat this has left me with serious fears of a spike in crime.

“I have repeated my concerns that the cost of living crisis is going to push people into desperation.

“While there is absolutely no excuse for crime, we have to be realistic that poverty and desperation will mean more young people are exploited into drug dealing and other crimes.

“There’s a realistic risk of serious mental ill health too from stress linked to poverty and it being connected to other issues like substance misuse.

“I also want to highlight research by West Midlands Victims’ Commissioner Nicky Brennan who has been listening to how the crisis is causing a rise in domestic abuse and the impact it is having on victims, including them being left unable to escape an unsafe situation.

“This is a desperately worrying time.”

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