HC Deb 08 March 1906 vol 153 cc632-3
MR. SEDDON (Lancashire, Newton)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he will state the number of persons engaged in the distribution trade, under the living-in system, who have lost their lives through fire; and, seeing that two young persons lost their lives upon premises provided by their employer, on March 3rd, 1906, at Camborne, Cornwall, whether he will inquire what number of assistants were sleeping on the premises, what was the sleeping accommodation provided, and what were the means provided for escape in case of fire.


There are no statistics available on this point, so far as the Department is aware. The London County Council would perhaps be able to produce a return so far as London is concerned, by examining their records, but it is doubtful whether other local authorities could in all cases give the information for their areas, and the work of collecting the returns would be great. There is no question as to the serious danger of fire in many classes of shops. Evidence was given on the subject, especially in regard to projecting shops, before the Committee on the London Building Bill of last session. The whole of the evidence on this Bill is being summarised, at the request of the Select Committee appointed last session to inquire into means of escape from fire in large buildings. I have, however, no power to take any action in the matter. With regard to the second part of the hon. Member's Question I will, if he so desires, ask the local police to obtain for him such information as they can.


Will the right hon. Gentleman take steps to get a Return on this very important question?


If the hon. Member will speak to me privately and say what he desires, I will consider it.