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Failed fire project wasted £469m, says committee of MPs

A project to set up nine regional control centres for fire and rescue services in England was a “complete failure” and wasted £469m, MPs say.

The public accounts committee said the Fire control scheme had not achieved any of its objectives and that eight of the centres were empty “white elephants”.

The plan to replace 46 smaller control rooms was scrapped in December 2010.

Fire Minister Bob Neill said Labour must be held accountable for the “comprehensive failure”.

Margaret Hodge, who chairs the MPs’ committee, said the project had been “flawed from the outset” and one of the worst wastes of public money for many years.

“The taxpayer has lost nearly half a billion pounds and eight of the completed regional control centres remain as empty and costly white elephants.”

She said the project – launched in 2004 by the Labour government – had been terminated in 2010 “with none of the original objectives achieved and a minimum of £469m being wasted”.