To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) if he will initiate a national attendance standard relating to speed response and weight attack for each Fire Brigade; (2) when the Standards of Fire Cover were last reviewed. 
The current national standards of fire cover provide that the country should be divided into four main categories of fire risk, according to the nature of the premises, and that, in response to fires in a particular risk category area, a predetermined number of firefighting appliances will attend within a specified time. The national standards are under review. In the light of the recommendation of the Independent Review of the Fire Service, chaired by Professor Sir George Bain, that the Government should issue guidance to implement a new risk-based approach to fire cover, we are drawing up, for consultation, draft guidance on a new approach. This guidance would provide a national framework, against which fire authorities would prepare local integrated risk management plans, responding to locally identified needs.
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether prior to the publication of the Bain report, drafts of the report were shown to (a) the Government, (b) the Fire Services National Employers and (c) other organisations. 
The work of the Review was carried out independently and objectively. Draft passages were shown to some people and organisations, including government officials who had provided evidence to the review to confirm points of factual accuracy. However no-one, apart from members of the review, its secretariat and the publishers saw the full text before the report was published on 16 December 2002.
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to his answer of 29 January 2003, Official Report, column 865W, on the firefighters' dispute, (1) what the total cost was to firefighter employers in (a) lost working days and (b) lost man hours of industrial action taken by firefighters in each of the last 14 months; (2) how many firefighters went on strike on
(a) each of the 10 days of industrial action in November 2002 and (b) the day of industrial action in January 2003; 
(3) how many (a) man hours and (b) working days were lost to industrial action by firefighters in each of the last 14 months. 
There are two shifts in a 24-hour period. 20 shifts were severely affected by strike action by members of the Fire Brigades Union in November 2002, six in January 2003 and four in February 2003.Information on the exact number of man hours lost or firefighters on strike is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he has consulted the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council on the proposal to remove his functions under section 19 of the Fire Services Act 1947. 
No. The Bain Review, which recommended repeal or amendment of section 19, invited evidence from all major stakeholders in the fire service, including those which are members of the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Council.
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what account he has taken of the Central Fire Brigades Council's Task Group report, The Fire Cover Review, drawing up the proposal to remove his functions under section 19 of the Fire Services Act 1947. 
The work of the Task Group was taken into account by the Independent Review of the Fire Service, which recommended the urgent introduction of a risk-based approach to fire cover and the repeal of most of the provisions of section 19 of the Fire Services Act 1947.
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what procedure the Government will use if the Secretary of State's powers under section 19 of the Fire Services Act 1947 are removed, to ensure that fire service emergency cover is maintained to a level deemed satisfactory by HM Fire Service Inspectorate. 
The repeal of section 19 will not alter the statutory responsibility that rests locally with fire authorities to provide fire services. Fire authorities will have guidance on the proposed new approach to fire cover. In addition, they have a general duty, under the Best Value provisions of the Local Government Act 1999, to secure continuous improvement in the way their functions are exercised, having regard to economy, efficiency and effectiveness; and they must consult, amongst others, representatives of persons who use are likely to use their services. The Best Value framework, which is backed up by an inspection regime, gives my right hon. Friend the Deputy Prime Minister intervention powers if an authority is failing to comply with its obligations.