HC Deb 29 June 1972 vol 839 cc1652-3
24. Mr. Jay

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied with measures now being taken by public authorities to ensure safety in public fairgrounds; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Lane

After the tragic fairground accident in the right hon. Member's constituency, of which I learned with deep regret, local authorities were asked to take all practicable steps within their existing powers to ensure the safety of members of the public visiting fairgrounds. My right hon. Friend is also arranging urgent discussions with the local authority associations and the Greater London Council about the possible need to strengthen the law.

Mr. Jay

Would the hon. Gentleman agree that this accident has disclosed gaps in the responsibility for safety in fairgrounds and will he take energetic steps with local authorities to see that these are closed?

Mr. Lane

Certainly. We sent a circular to all local authorities early this month. I should like to repeat what I said in the debate on Monday night. I hope that local authorities will urgently take action now to improve the safety of fairs in their areas during the holiday season when millions of people will be using them.

Mr. John Fraser

Is the hon. Gentleman satisfied that there is not a similar problem with things such as fire precautions and other safety precautions? Is he satisfied that there are the staff available to do this work?

Mr. Lane

Yes. I do not think there should be any difficulty on that account. What concerns me is that I understand that only 53 local authorities in all have so far made bye-laws under either the Public Health Act or local Acts. This is an aspect at which I hope local authorities will be looking urgently.