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Civil Contingencies

Volume 402: debated on Thursday 3 April 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on his Department's (a) responsibilities and (b) assets with regard to civil contingency planning; what funds are committed; what action he is taking within his Department to improve such planning; and what action he is taking in collaboration with other departments. [102621]

I am responsible for co-ordination arrangement on counter-terrorism and civil contingencies across Government. With regard to the first part of the question I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my hon. Friend the Minister for the Cabinet Office (Mr Douglas Alexander) on 21 March 2003, Official Report, column 957W.The Cabinet Office is the lead department for civil emergency planning. The Home Office leads on developing the UK's capability to respond to terrorist inspired CBRN incidents and does not hold assets for civil emergency planning. The Department is playing a leading role in the government's work to ensure that the emergency services have the equipment and the trained officers necessary to respond to civil emergencies particularly incidents caused by CBRN terrorism.As Home Secretary, I have responsibility within the Government for domestic national security, including counter-terrorism policy, and also for our work relating to preparedness in the face of a terrorist attack. I chair two Cabinet Sub-Committees which deal with these matters, bringing together Ministers from all relevant departments to ensure that contingencies arrangements are in place. Each department, of course, takes responsibility for its own resilience in the face of terrorist attacks and other emergencies. I refer the hon. Member again to the reply given by the Minister for the Cabinet Office on 21 March for that department's role in co-ordinating these arrangements for resilience in government and the public sector.I gave a full account of the Government's response to dealing with the consequences of a terrorist attack when I made a statement to the House during the debates on the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 on 3 March 2003,

Official Report, column 72WS.