Clause 1 — Powers of the Secretary of State
Orders of the Day — Fire Services Bill
Mr Elfyn Llwyd (Meirionnydd Nant Conwy, Plaid Cymru)
But if the money is not there to pay the retained firefighters, what is the obvious conclusion? The Government will not say that it was their fault; it will be the fault of the fire authority, of course, for not using the money wisely. The fire authority would then be forced to make cuts in due course. I hope that I am wrong, and if the Minister gets up in a few minutes' time to tell me that that is the case, I shall be pleased to hear it. That would cheer me up no end, along with my constituents and several other people in north Wales. I say that, having made those few sincerely held remarks.
The amendments are very useful, and we have had a useful debate on them. Reference was made earlier to the Deputy Prime Minister saying that fire stations were public property. Yes, they are public property, and they are very close to the hearts of people in rural communities. They provide a vital service, and the retained sector is extremely important in rural areas such as north Wales. I would like to see amendment No. 11 embellished by a reference to the need for consultation with Members of the National Assembly for Wales as well.