HC Deb 20 June 1961 vol 642 cc1155-6
17. Sir J. Duncan

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will consult with the Scottish Gas Board regarding the improvement of gas appliances and the production of new safety measures to reduce the numbers of deaths from gassing, which reached a total of 196 last year.

Mr. Galbraith

In association with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Power, my right hon. Friend is already in close touch with the Gas Council in an endeavour to improve the safety of gas appliances.

Sir J. Duncan

Is my hon. Friend aware that many deaths from gassing are accidental and mainly concern old people? Will he try to induce the Scottish Gas Board to fit safety gas taps in all places where there are old people who are frail and who, perhaps, go to sleep while the gas is still on and gas themselves accidentally? This is a very important matter. Will my hon. Friend "have a go" at it?

Mr. Galbraith

I understand that the Gas Board inspects appliances in the homes of elderly people. I shall certainly ask my right hon. Friend to draw its attention to the matter.

Mr. Manuel

is the Joint Under-Secretary of State aware that very much more needs to be done in this matter? As the hon. Member for South Angus (Sir J. Duncan) said, old people have succumbed to gas poisoning, but is the hon. Gentleman aware that far too many gas appliances are too accessible to children and can be turned on too easily? Children have died in the home from this when adults have not been present.

Mr. Galbraith

I am aware of the danger, but I think it is fair to say that in the last year there was a reduction of 15 in the number of accidental deaths, which seems to show that what the Gas Council is doing is having some effect.