CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

CABINET OFFICE – EMERGENCY PLANNING – 12 February 2003

Dr Julian Lewis: Will the Minister [Douglas Alexander] address the specific point? If the type of attack is to be more limited than the all-out attack envisaged in the early 1980s, will there be specialised teams that can quickly descend on affected areas to help people?

[Mr Alexander: The hon. Gentleman raises an important point, to which I was hoping to come. Local responders – this is an important caveat to what I am about to say – remain the building blocks of emergency response in the United Kingdom. However, specialist central support would be available to supplement those local responders, who will be on the front line in such incidents. In that sense, he is accurate in thinking that one must ensure that the emergency services in the location are supported by the appropriate skills and knowledge from the centre. That gives a sense of the work that the Government are undertaking on these matters.]