New Forest East


Dr Julian Lewis: Surely the distinction drawn by the Minister [Christopher Leslie] between pre-disaster planning and post-disaster responses is false? Is it not a fact that the planning that we have to undertake is naturally on a much larger scale since 11 September and therefore requires much greater resources?  

[Tim Collins: My hon. Friend is right. I make no particular criticism, as none of us has 100 percent or even 1 percent ability to foresee everything that will happen, but a Home Office consultation document published in August–before the events of 11 September–and entitled "Future of Emergency Planning in England and Wales", which no doubt informed the Bill's drafting, says at paragraph 4.14:

"In the last decade or so, there has been a clear reduction in the threat of war".

That is the context in which the Government made policy relating to emergency planning.

 … Although my hon. Friend the Member for New Forest, East (Dr. Lewis) knows more of the detail than me, we remember that those of us who take an historical perspective always begin to worry when the Treasury or the Home Office says that war is unlikely in the next 10 years. Several of my hon. Friends recall that that was the Treasury assumption in the 1920s and early 1930s. Sad to say, there is recent evidence that the Treasury, as well as the Home Office, is again operating on that basis.]