New Clause 5 — Regional Management Structures

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

The hon. Gentleman has got that wrong. I have already made it quite clear that the only circumstances in which we would use the clause 2(2)(b) powers—I said this about 10 minutes ago—would be in the interest of public safety where there had been a failure to put in place adequate arrangements to ensure regional resilience. That is an issue of public safety, and in those circumstances, we clearly could not delay while there was a long-drawn-out debate about the optimal regional boundaries. There would be an overriding priority to provide effective arrangements to ensure that the resilience that we have been talking about was in place. I hope that the hon. Gentleman recognises that.