Clause 2 - General

Part of Civil Defence (Grant) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 am on 11th December 2001.

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Photo of Mr Tim Collins Mr Tim Collins Conservative, Westmorland and Lonsdale 11:45 am, 11th December 2001

The Minister said that local authority emergency planning units have not been asked, since September 11, to undertake any significant new work. That is an extremely important statement, and I should be grateful if he would elaborate on it. One is led to ask why they have not been asked to do so, given the Home Secretary's formal designation of the position, what the Prime Minister and other senior Ministers have said about the enhanced threat to this country since 11 September and the widespread public concern about the possibility of further acts that try to maximise the number of innocent civilians killed. Does not the Minister think it curious that local authority emergency planning units have not been asked to do more work? Does the Cabinet Office expect to issue new guidance to them soon? Even if the Minister thinks, for whatever reason, that the units do not need to do further work, many people on the ground may believe that they do. Surely it would be better, for all the reasons that he himself has advanced, if that were done in the context of a national framework rather than just in a higgledy-piggledy fashion?