New Clause 5 — Regional Management Structures

Part of Fire and Rescue Services Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:30 pm on 15th March 2004.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Nick Raynsford Nick Raynsford Minister of State (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) (Local and Regional Government) 8:30 pm, 15th March 2004

I am delighted to see the hon. Gentleman, whom we missed in Committee because he was frequently absent. I am glad to see him this evening on this brief appearance after several hours of debate. I assure him that cost-effectiveness is one of the main considerations, and we will certainly examine the financial implications, including the potential savings that will come from the establishment of a regional control centre, for all authorities involved before final decisions are taken. I assure him that the issues will be examined impartially.

My hon. Friend the Member for Stroud asked about accountability. One existing fire and rescue authority in England, the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority, is already constituted on regional lines, and it was created under the Greater London Authority Act 1999. It is thoroughly accountable, and, interestingly, it includes not only directly elected members of the Greater London authority but representatives from London boroughs. It is an interesting example of achieving a proper framework of accountability within the regional structure.

With those comments, I hope that the House will agree that the Government amendments should be endorsed, and I ask the hon. Member for Runnymede and Weybridge to withdraw his amendment.