HC Deb 14 June 2004 vol 422 c510
8. Mr. John Lyons (Strathkelvin and Bearsden) (Lab)

If he will make it his policy to maintain protection for rail workers who witness suicide, as part of the review of the criminal injuries compensation scheme. [178157]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Paul Goggins)

I can confirm that my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has decided to maintain the current mechanism for compensating railway workers who are affected by suicides on the tracks. He will say more about that later this afternoon.

Mr. Lyons

I thank my hon. Friend for his very positive response. Everyone will agree that railway workers need to be included in the scheme, as they have been since 1990. There are about 200 suicides a year on the main line network and facing one must be the most horrific physical and psychological experience for any person. I welcome the news.

Paul Goggins

I thank my hon. Friend for his response to my answer. We have listened carefully to the representations made by employers, trade unions and, indeed, hon. Members. We all accept that the circumstances faced by train drivers who witness suicides in the course of their duties are unique. Those drivers deserve our sympathy and support. It is important, therefore, that we do not complicate the system. It will remain as it is.