Preparing for Extreme Risks (RARPC Report) - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:06 pm on 12 January 2023.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom Lord Arbuthnot of Edrom Conservative 6:06, 12 January 2023

My Lords, the hour is late, so I shall be brief. It has not been an apocalyptic, or even a particularly gloomy, debate—he says with a rather sad look on his face. The Minister has been very helpful in making plain that there is further thinking and further work to do. I hope and am sure that this excellent debate will inform that further thinking and work. I want to pick up just one or two points.

I come back to the point made by the noble Lord, Lord Mair, about a register for critical national infrastructure. If you do not have a register and a depreciation register, you do not know when it will be necessary to spend money on critical national infrastructure, which might be rather necessary rather soon.

The noble Viscount, Lord Thurso, made the excellent point that resilience implies redundancy. We had a lot of military input into the work of this committee. General Sir Richard Barrons has said that efficiency is, or can be, the enemy of resilience. The Treasury needs to recognise that.

The right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Leicester took the committee to task for failing to mention faith groups. He made a fair point. That brings me on to the importance of communities. We do not get resilience without strong communities and faith group are right at the heart of strong communities.

That brings me on to my final point, which relates to the issue of “whole of society”, the third principle of the Government’s framework. Elisabeth Braw gave evidence to the committee, and she said in a Times article a couple of weeks ago that while she welcomed the framework in general, it barely mentioned the public. She described it as an enormous missed opportunity. The opportunity is now; the people are ready. Let us bring them in and fire them up and set them free.

Motion agreed.

House adjourned at 6.10 pm.