Civil Contingencies Bill
Lord Lucas (Conservative)
My Lords, that is a fairly clear no. I shall let the matter lie there but I shall come back to it under the next group, which is where the consequences of this will come to light. If the Government will not tell us in any formal way how, for instance, they have been exercising to deal with a major flood, or a shortage of fuel, or whatever else it might be, I want to be sure that we shall be able to find out those things informally and that we shall not just be told, "It is none of your business".
In not involving themselves in this Bill the Government are saying that we can trust them to do all the exercising and the preparations. But how do we hold them to account if they just will not tell us what they have been doing? That is what worries me. The noble Lord says that there will be all these reports but I am not aware of any of them. I have never seen any of them. Perhaps the noble Lord could give me a list of the things that are available at the moment to say what exercises the Government have been doing. I asked him for that last time but I think I got an answer that they could not answer.
It is all very well saying that there is no need for a formal reporting mechanism, but it has to be very clear that these things actually are available when we want them and are not just bits of information that are not collected because the Government cannot be bothered. It is absolutely crucial to this whole thing working that the Government do their bit. If it is not in this Bill and they are not going to tell us about it in a formal way, I really would like to know where I go to find out details of the Health Department's exercising for civil contingencies. Where should I look? If the noble Lord can answer that question in writing, I shall not return to the matter at Third Reading.