§ Mr. Nigel Jones
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the effect of the fuel duty escalator on the budgets of(a) the police, (b) the fire and rescue service and (c) the ambulance service. 
§ Mr. Charles Clarke
Budgets for police forces and fire brigades are set locally by their respective police and fire authorities. These budgets reflect local decisions on the authorities' priorities and expenditure needs. It is not possible to discern whether or to what extent fuel price changes have been a factor in these decisions, but we have no evidence to suggest that they have been a consideration of any significance.
The ambulance service is the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health. However, I understand that the increased costs in fuel duty for the ambulance service since 1996–97 are estimated at £3.73 million. This amounts to less than 0.075 per cent, of hospital and community health services spending over the two years since 1997.