HC Deb 15 February 1968 vol 758 cc1570-1
29. Mr. Blaker

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what savings will result in 1968–69 and 1969–70 from the decision to disband the Auxiliary Fire Service.

Mr. Ennals

In England and Wales, about £0.6 million in 1968–69 and £1.1 million in 1969–70.

Mr. Blaker

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the effect of decisions such as that which the Government have announced in regard to the A.F.S., and the way they announced it, is to help to destroy the spirit of voluntary service in this country? Will he explain what he meant when he referred in an earlier Answer to the absorption of personnel of the A.F.S. into local authority fire services? Does he intend by that to refer to volunteer members of the service?

Mr. Speaker

Order. Supplementary questions are becoming too long.

Mr. Ennals

It is hoped that those who are now fully employed by local authorities on dealing with the A.F.S. will be absorbed into the general regular fire service. As regards the criticism which the hon. Gentleman makes, it is, I submit, sheer hypocrisy for hon. Members who have been constantly baying for cuts in public expenditure to come forward with that sort of criticism every time a cut is proposed.