Home secretary Amber Rudd has been accused of ‘burying her head in the sand’ over knife crime by Ashton-under-Lyne MP and shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.

Mrs Rayner said the alarming wave of killings were not just affecting London, but 39 of the 43 police forces across the UK.

Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show she said the problem was not just about austerity.

She went on: “I think when the home secretary sticks her head in the sand and suggests that losing 21,000 police officers from the streets doesn’t have an effect, that’s a naïve position.”

“We’ve seen cuts to youth and education and to children’s services as well as all the wrap-around services that we know support young people in making sure they make the right choices. I think it has a knock-on effect.”

Her comments came ahead of the government announcement on Monday of a new serious violence strategy, focusing on the root causes of "early intervention".

There will be a new serious weapons bill to become law quickly making it illegal for anyone to possess acid in a public place without good cause. It will also be illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to buy acid.

It will also be unlawful for anyone to order knives online, with certain weapons like knuckle dusters and zombie knives also banned.

Mrs Rayner said that Labour would put an extra £1.5bn a year into council services an it would be up to those local authorities to decide how they used it, although under questioning, she admitted that figure was only 10% of the cuts to local government budgets that the current government has made.

On the widespread clamour for police stop and search activity to be stepped up, she called for a “balanced” approach.

“Evidence-based stop and search is the right way forward,” she said.

“It means using intelligence from local police forces and neighbourhood policing which was a triumph for the last Labour government.”