HC Deb 18 June 1974 vol 875 cc380-1

Amendments made: No. 41, in page 8, line 16, leave out from 'Part' to end of line 17.

No. 42, in page 8, line 18, leave out 'except as aforesaid'.—[Mr. Harold Walker.]

Mr. Harold Walker

I beg to move Amendment No. 43, in page 8, line 24, after 'research', insert: 'the publication of the results of research'. The amendment follows up a promise which I gave in Standing Committee to meet the objective of an amendment put down by hon. Gentlemen opposite. As I said to the Committee, we wholeheartedly support the idea that the results of valuable research, whether carried out by the commission itself, or by others on its behalf, should be widely disseminated. And I agree with hon. Gentlemen opposite that it is well worth making this aspect of the commission's duties abundantly clear, even if it is already covered more generally by its duty to keep people informed.

Clearly the commission should have some discretion as to whether or not it publishes the results of any particular piece of research. After all, not all research produces worthwhile results; and also there might be circumstances where whoever carried out research for the commission would themselves prefer to publish their own findings. I think this amendment allows the commission the necessary flexibility, whilst at the same time making quite clear what is expected of it in the general way.

Mr. Madel

We are grateful to the Minister for meeting us on this. Without going over old ground, this provision endorses the point that we have been making for the last few minutes, namely, that it is vital to have on the commission an expert who will be able to say what should be published and what will be published.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Harold Walker

I beg to move Amendment No. 44, in page 8, line 32, at end insert 'provided with an information and advisory service and are'. This is another amendment which fulfils one more promise that I gave to hon. Gentlemen opposite in Standing Committee. It is part of the overall strengthening of the Bill's provisions for making advice and information freely available.

Hon. Gentlemen opposite wanted to amend the Bill to ensure that the commission would undoubtedly have the power to set up an information and advisory service. I have no doubt that as the Bill is drafted the commission has such powers in support of its general functions; and it has, of course, already got the duty to make arrangements for keeping people informed and advised upon health and safety matters.

But I think that there is advantage in making it clear that we expect this duty of the commission's to include the appropriate continuing arrangements for making information and advice available. In other words, it is not only a question of the commission's initiatives in publishing information, and so on; we also want it to establish facilities to which those in industry and elsewhere—employees, employers, universities, the general public—can turn for information and advice about hazards to health and safety, generally or in a particular instance, or about the requirements of the law, and so on. The commission should be a focal point for guidance on all health and safety matters, and we think that the amendment makes that intention clear.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendment made: No. 45, in page 8, line 35, leave out paragraph (d) and insert: '(d) to submit from time to time to the authority having power to make regulations under any of the relevant statutory provisions such proposals as the Commission considers appropriate for the making of regulations under that power '—[Mr. Harold Walker.]

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