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Fire Service

Volume 447: debated on Tuesday 20 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much the Department and its predecessors have spent on external consultants on fire service related projects in each year since 2000, broken down by project. (73400)

I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Stroud (Mr. Drew) on 9 May 2006, Official Report, column 218W.

The Department of Communities and Local Government was formed in May 2006 (formerly ODPM formed in May 2002) and expenditure prior to May 2002 could be provided only at disproportionate cost. For the period May 2002 to March 2006 the figures are detailed in the following table.

£ million

Cost

2002-03

3.38

2003-04

5.29

2004-05

13.27

2005-06

15.35

The increase in expenditure since 2002-03 can be explained by the three large projects known as New Dimension, Firelink and FireControl.

These projects constitute:

(i) an important part of the Government’s response to the events of 11 September 2001;

(ii) a reflection of the need to serve the interests of public safety and security by enhancing the ability of the fire and rescue service to respond to major incidents; and

(iii) support the modernisation of the fire and rescue service following Professor Bain's Independent Review of the Fire Service, published in December 2002.

The use of consultants enables a range of professional expertise to be deployed on these projects.