HC Deb 15 February 1864 vol 173 cc563-4

said, he wished to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he intends to introduce a Bill this year for the better protection of the Metropolis from Fire; and, if so, when he will lay it upon the table of the House?


I hope, Sir, to be able to introduce a Bill on the subject. Some time ago I communicated with the Metropolitan Board of Works, and laid before them the outline of a scheme for the establishment of a Fire Brigade for the Metropolis, to be under the control and management of that Board. They signified their willingness to undertake the control of such a body, but stipulated that the whole expense of maintaining the establishment should, not fall upon the ratepayers of the Metropolis. As to the principle there was no difference, for it is obviously right that the Government should contribute something in respect of the large number of public buildings, the national property, to which increased protection would be afforded; but in the arrangement of details some difficulties were naturally felt. The Board of Works also thought, and not unreasonably, that the Fire Insurance Companies ought not to be exempted from all contribution to such an establishment, having at present to bear all the expense of their own Fire Brigades. I am in communication with these Com- panies, and again I hope that there is no difference between us in principle; but the details of the arrangement require careful consideration. I am at present waiting their answer; and till all these arrangements are satisfactorily made I cannot say when the Bill will be introduced.