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Fire Services: Military Aid

Volume 487: debated on Thursday 29 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether her Department classifies the withdrawal of armed forces’ emergency fire cover and the associated obligation to pay for alternative contingency cover as a new burden on the fire and rescue authorities. (252181)

The provision of the armed forces to provide emergency fire cover has always been discretionary. The 2003 White Paper ‘Our Fire and Rescue Service’ made it clear that no party should proceed on the basis that the armed forces would be available to provide emergency cover in the event of industrial action. Delivery of an efficient and effective fire service, including arrangements for the provision of emergency fire cover, is the responsibility of fire and rescue authorities, which are expected to live within existing resources.