Clause 14 - Directions as to reinforcement schemes
Fire and Rescue Services Bill
Mr Philip Hammond (Runnymede and Weybridge, Conservative)
I am disappointed to hear the Under-Secretary justify the provisions simply by saying that they replicate the 1947 Act. It would be a grim business if we spent out our time in Committee repealing provisions from the 1947 Act and then reinstating them clause by clause, with no greater assurance of whether they were appropriate than the Minister's statement that they were in the Act whose provisions we had just repealed. That would be a time-wasting exercise. It is appropriate that we look at all the provisions of the 1947 Act that the Government intend to reinstate and consider whether, 57 years on, they are still appropriate and necessary and whether they further the cause—which I hold dear—of maintaining the independence, autonomy and local accountability of fire and rescue services.
I am not persuaded by the Under-Secretary's apparent assumption that it is wrong for Parliament to consider the micro-management of fire authorities but right for the Secretary of State to intervene.