§ The Minister for Local Government, Regional Governance and Fire(Mr. Nick Raynsford)
I have today made available copies of a consultation document on charging for services by Fire and Rescue Authorities in the Libraries of the House.
Authorities already have a power under the Fire Services Act 1947 to charge for services other than fighting fires. The White Paper "Our Fire and Rescue Service" gave a commitment to continue to provide such a power and to consult on any proposals to extend the charging regime.
Clause 19 of the Fire and Rescue Services Bill currently before this House provides for the Secretary of State to specify by Order the services for which an authority may levy a charge.
The consultation document contains details of the services for which authorities in England and Wales currently levy a charge and these form the basis of our proposals. Comments are welcome on any part of our proposals. In particular, we welcome responses on the direction of travel in respect of the provision by authorities of detailed advice or consultancy.
The consultation period will close on 7 May 2004.66WS