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London Assembly Member Unmesh Desai has welcomed the government’s decision to boost funding for the protection of places of worship to £1.6million.

London Assembly Member Unmesh Desai has welcomed the government’s decision to boost funding for the protection of places of worship to £1.6million.

A new £5m fund has also been opened to provide security training. Mr Desai wrote to the government in April, following the Christchurch and Colombo terrorist attacks, urging them to increase protections for places of worship in the UK.

Following the far-right terror attack in New Zealand in April, which saw 50 worshippers tragically murdered at their local mosques, Mr Desai wrote to the then Home Secretary, Sajid Javid MP, outlining several further measures the government could take to improve security at places of worship in the UK.

These included simplifying the bidding process and ring-fencing the money allocated to the fund. The simplification of the bidding process has been addressed directly in the recent announcement.

Mr Desai said: “I have joined others, such as Kate Green MP, in calling for better protection for our places of worship for some time and so this increase in funding is very welcome.

“From speaking with members of the local community, I know that increasing the funding available alone is not going to provide full reassurance that adequate security is going to be provided for them, and I will continue to monitor this situation closely.

“I sincerely hope that the new Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, continues to take heed of mine and others’ calls, as there has undoubtedly been an alarming rise in religious hate crimes and the government must ensure that their policies take account of this.”

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