HC Deb 12 April 1965 vol 710 c944
27. Mr. Hannan

asked the Minister of Labour, in view of the conflicting advice given to industry and public bodies in respect of fire prevention by insurance companies and fire service prevention officers, if he will take steps to establish a uniform code of requirements and administration in this matter.

Mr. Thornton

My right hon. Friend's responsibilities in relation to fire prevention under the Factories Act and the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act are primarily concerned with the protection of employees. Insurance companies are concerned with other matters including the protection of property and their requirements may therefore differ.

Mr. Hannan

With due respect to my hon. Friend, I must say that that is no answer to my Question. Is not he aware that there is a conflict of interest between the conditions which the insurance companies lay down before they will insure public buildings or industrial buildings? Is he further aware that the advice from the fire prevention officers is that these conditions differ on many occasions? What does he propose to do about this conflict? Is there not some way in which the insurance companies can lay down a uniform set of requirements for public buildings?

Mr. Thornton

My right hon. Friend can give advice only on matters falling within his responsibility, which is for the safety of employees. As I have said, the conditions imposed by insurance companies are mainly related to other matters. I appreciate the problem to which my hon. Friend refers and I will draw my right hon. Friend's attention to what he has said.