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Civil Defence

Volume 404: debated on Tuesday 29 April 2003

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To ask the Prime Minister which department is specifically responsible for the UK's (a) civil and (b) military biodefence programme. [109302]

The Department of Health has responsibility for the UK's public health emergency planning programme. The Ministry of Defence is responsible for the measures taken to protect the Armed Forces against biological hazards. Appropriate measures are continually reviewed and strengthened.Work in this area is taken forward under the cross-Governmental Civil Contingency machinery for which the Home Secretary has overall responsibility. This arrangement ensures that direct responsibility for responding to the whole range of threats rests with the relevant department whilst also providing effective coordination across Government for all related activities.