New Clause 5 — Regional Management Structures

Part of Fire and Rescue Services Bill – in the House of Commons at 8:00 pm on 15th March 2004.

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Photo of Nick Raynsford Nick Raynsford Minister of State (Office of the Deputy Prime Minister) (Local and Regional Government) 8:00 pm, 15th March 2004

As the hon. Gentleman knows only too well, the Government office regions were established by the previous Government on the basis—as I have quoted his right hon. Friend the Member for Suffolk, Coastal as recognising—that they were a compromise that fitted most of the Departments that then had regional organisations. Since then, they have developed considerably. They have taken on new functions, and new institutions have been created, such as regional development agencies, that follow the same regional boundaries. We are seeing a consolidation of arrangements within those regional structures and, most importantly, regional resilience is being organised on that basis. We have had the regional resilience forums for almost a year now. They are based in the Government offices, and it would be wholly counterproductive now to suggest alternative boundaries for one element—one emergency service—with an important contribution to make to that overall resilience.