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Terrorism: Comprehensive Spending Review

Volume 686: debated on Thursday 2 November 2006

My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Gordon Brown) has today made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The security and safety of the British people is the first task of Government.

Earlier in the year I announced that the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) would review security and counter-terrorism activity across government, as a key foundation for the investment decisions we will make.

The Chief Secretary has today written to Cabinet colleagues setting out how this review will be taken forward within the wider Comprehensive Spending Review framework.

It is already clear from the work under way that we face a new type of threat which erodes traditional distinctions between homeland and international security and between those traditionally tasked with security policy and other areas of Government. This demands new approaches from Government. No department of government can simply leave security to others any longer.

This review must rise to this challenge to take a comprehensive approach drawing on an overarching assessment of the threat and the response required across Government, to inform how we can further strengthen and integrate our strategic security capability, including the case for a single security budget. This will ensure that by working beyond departmental boundaries we can enhance the effectiveness of our structures for protecting Britain's security and set out the part each department can play.

The review will look beyond the immediate security situation to consider the long-term requirements for winning hearts and minds.

It will also consider how best to harness new technology for security, to prevent terrorists and criminals exploiting multiple identities to escape the law and bypass border security. Sir James Crosby held his first meeting of his public/private forum on identity on 30 October. This is investigating how common standards can enhance our ability to protect identities and how identity management can be used to increase the security of individuals as consumers, employees and international passengers. The forum is due to report by the spring 2007.