James Cleverly has overruled the Home Office’s top civil servant on funding security for Jewish communities.

A further £54 million of cash has been announced for the Community Security Trust (CST) to provide the security measures until 2028, in addition to £18 million previously allocated to the charity for 2024-25.

The additional security package is “important” amid a rise in antisemitism since the start of the Israel-Hamas war last October, the Home Secretary said.

In a letter to Mr Cleverly published on Thursday, permanent secretary Sir Matthew Rycroft raised concerns about the value for money of the three-year extension of the funding.

“I am content that it is feasible and regular, but it does not meet the propriety or value for money tests,” he said.

He proposed limiting the direct award to CST for a year and to use that time to run a competition for subsequent years, as “government grants should be subject to competition by default” to try to make savings.

In his response, Mr Cleverly formally directed Sir Matthew to take forward the three-year extension.

The Cabinet minister told the permanent secretary: “Given the appalling rise in the number of antisemitic incidents since 7 October, I do not envisage that the current, enhanced risk is going to subside in the near future.

“This is not the right time to trigger a potential change in supplier.

Home Affairs Committee
Home Office permanent secretary Sir Matthew Rycroft (House of Commons/PA)

“In my view it is crucial we provide a long-standing commitment to the Jewish community on this issue, to enable effective security arrangements to be made for the future.”

The funding will provide security guards, CCTV and alarm systems at Jewish schools, synagogues and other community centres.

The CST is a British charity which provides security and advice to the Jewish community in the UK.

A recent report from the organisation showed it recorded 4,103 antisemitic incidents in the UK in 2023, the highest total reported to the trust in a single calendar year and an increase of 147% compared with 2022.

The figures spiked after the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict, with 1,330 incidents reported in October, more than the three previous highest monthly totals combined.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The continuation of funding to the Community Security Trust provides a long-term commitment to the Jewish community at a time of unprecedented need, following the October 7 attacks and subsequent rise in antisemitic incidents.

“It was agreed that the decision on funding required Ministerial Direction, and both the Permanent Secretary and Home Secretary are satisfied that the process for providing this has been followed.”