HC Deb 06 December 1973 vol 865 cc1426-7
2. Miss Fookes

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will change his method of collecting statistics relating to fireworks accidents, so that they become available sooner than at present.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. David Lane)

The information on which the statistics are based has to be obtained from the hospitals. The complete statistics are available early in the following year, which allows ample time for action before the next fireworks season, but we are arranging for the work to be speeded up as far as possible.

Miss Fookes

Is the Minister able to say whether the figures are likely to be higher or lower than last year, when, I understand, 1,260 were injured, 234 seriously?

Mr. Lane

It is too soon to give even an approximate indication of the trend this year. We are speeding up the returns from the hospitals. What my hon. Friend said about the disappointing figures last year is true, but I remind her and the House that until then we had succeeded in more than halving the casualty rate over the previous 10 years. We want to resume that improvement.

Mr. John Fraser

Is it not a fact that the injury rate last year was up by 20 per cent. but that when the figures were published it was too late for anyone to form a judgment and for any action to be taken? The event of Guy Fawkes night had gone out of people's minds. May we have a promise that the figures will be published earlier this year, so that if action needs to be taken by manufacturers or the House it can be taken in good time?

Mr. Lane

I do not accept the hon. Member's first charge. We had plenty of time, even on the last occasion, to take a number of new steps before last month's fireworks season. The figures for last year were published in April, and we hope to do considerably better on this occasion.

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