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EMERGENCY PLANNING FUNDS REVAMP FACES DELAY

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A new funding formula for emergency planning should be delayed until a post-11 September revamp of contingency meas...
A new funding formula for emergency planning should be delayed until a post-11 September revamp of contingency measures, ministers have been told.

The Civil Defence (Grant) Bill was introduced to restore government control over distributing funds following a successful legal challenge by the Merseyside Fire & Civil Defence Authority.

Spending on emergency planning has risen from around£12m to£18.6m, as councils took advantage of the lack of central control. The figure is to be frozen this year.

A framework is being drawn up in the wake of the New York atrocities.

But during a House of Commons debate, Liberal Democrat deputy leader Alan Beith said: 'We seem to be putting the cart before the horse.

'If new arrangements for emergency planning are going to be devised, let's have a funding system that fits around those.'

Tory spokesman Tim Collins said emergency planners considered the bill 'negative legislation' which the government was aiming to introduce at an inappropriate time.

'We still do not know what the nature of the external threat facing this country is,' Mr Collins said.

-- Hertfordshire CC is hosting a conference on emergency planning on 5 March. Among those speaking will be Colin Parkes, president of bereavement charity Cruse.

www.hertsdirect.org

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