HC Deb 16 June 1988 vol 135 cc197-8W
Dr. Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will identify(a) liaison arrangements between his Department and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation civil emergency planning boards and committees, concerning civil emergency and home defence planning, and (b) the extent of collaborative work carried out with these bodies; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten

Home Office officials represent the United Kingdom on the NATO senior civil emergency planning committee, which undertakes the direction of policy and general co-ordination of civil emergency planning, and on the civil defence committee and working group, which comprises senior officials of NATO countries meeting on a regular basis to consider national plans for all aspects of the protection of the public in an emergency. The NATO group of experts on warning and detection reports to the civil defence committee; it is chaired by the director of the United Kingdom warning and monitoring organisation and co-ordinates research and development of warning and detection systems, including an annual international exercise. Home Office officials also represent the United Kingdom on the NATO civil communications planning committee and working groups, which are concerned with the maintenance of civil communications in an emergency.

Mr. Thomas

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will identify the terms of reference of work on(a) civil emergencies and (b) home defence planning carried out in his Department, the number of staff involved and the annual budgets for 1985–86, 1986–87 and 1987–88; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. John Patten

The Civil Defence Act 1948 provides the statutory basis for civil defence activity. The objective of civil defence planning in the Home Office is to give effect to the civil defence functions of Ministers, which are set out in the 1948 Act. These include the formulation of policy and issue of guidance to the local authorities and the police and fire services, payment of grant, the provision of training and equipment, development of communications, scientific research and the maintenance of warning and monitoring arrangements.

The Civil Protection in Peacetime Act 1986 enables local authorities to use civil defence resources in the response to a peacetime emergency. The Home Office issues guidance on this subject in consultation with other Government Departments.

The information requested on Home Office expenditure and manpower is as follows:

Year Expenditure Manpower
£ million
1985–86 46.30 171
1986–87 48.40 177
1987–88 55.30 178
1 Estimate.