It has been claimed that delays to a government plan to deal with national emergencies have made the UK more susceptible to blackouts in winter.
Labour claimed that Britain was now at risk from future pandemics, power shortages, and flooding because it had not published its national resilience strategy.
The Government launched an integrated review in March 2021 of security, defense, and foreign policy. This was aimed at protecting the UK from threats at home as well as abroad.
The review promised to develop a national resilience strategy for the UK to increase its defense capabilities against “diverse risks”, from “chronic” issues and “catastrophic impacts events”.
The strategy has not materialized 18 months later. The Cabinet Office’s October promise to publish the strategy this autumn has been broken.
Labour noted that the UK has experienced record temperatures since the integrated review. There was also a crisis in the cost of living and the possibility of energy blackouts. The National Grid announced last week that it was close to activating its blackout prevention program for the first time.
Fleur Anderson, Labour’s shadow paymaster general, stated: “The national resilience strategies were promised in the integrated reviews more than 18 months back, but it seems it’s at very the bottom of the ministers’ to-do list.
They said it would be ready in autumn, but winter has already arrived. How many national emergencies will it take for the Government to wake up? They must immediately publish their national resilience plan.”
Ms Anderson compared the delay to high minister turnover at the Cabinet Office with the post of the Chancellor of Lancaster, the fifth incumbent since the strategy’s promise.
She said that Britain was left behind by “this chaotic government’s conveyor train of ministers”
“After 12 years’ complacency, the next Labour government won’t leave our country with such a soft underbelly after 12 years.”
Labour claims it will increase resilience by creating a national security sub-committee, reviewing the COBR National Emergency Committee and strengthening the Cabinet Office.
According to a government source, a version of Whitehall’s resilience strategy was already in place and some departments had begun work on its implementation. It is not yet known when the publication date will be.
Labour’s claims were rebuffed by the Cabinet Office, which pointed out that astronomical winter starts on December 21. According to the meteorological calendar, the first day of winter falls on Dec 1.
A Cabinet Office spokesperson stated that “The first duty any government has is to protect the public. We are enhancing our ability to respond to and prepare for emergencies.
“We will soon publish our comprehensive strategy to resilience, which is being implemented across government. To ensure the country’s readiness to face the challenges that winter brings, there are strong contingency plans.
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