HL Deb 30 June 1980 vol 411 cc1-3

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what provision is being made, following the closure on 30th June of the Health and Safety Centre in Horseferry Road, for the exhibition of important material about health and safety in industry, commerce and offices.


My Lords, the Health and Safety Executive will continue to participate in a wide range of industrial, commercial and safety exhibitions and to use other effective means of disseminating health and safety information including publications, films and other promotional activities.


My Lords, while thanking the noble Earl for a reply on a subject different from that to which the Question was addressed, may I ask whether he is aware that there has been an exhibition there on which Members of this House have relied for 53 years?

The Earl of GOWRIE

My Lords, the Government recognise that it is important that the Health and Safety Executive should continue to make information available to employers, employees and other groups, and information will continue to be made available. It was not felt, however, that this particular exhibition centre was cost—effective.

Baroness SEEAR

My Lords, is it impossible for the noble Earl to think again about this matter? Is he aware that this museum has been used most effectively for training in industry and for training students from all over the country for many years? It is a quite invaluable exhibition, the loss of which will be greatly regretted.

The Earl of GOWRIE

My Lords, I join the noble Baroness in paying tribute to the work the centre has done. Nevertheless, it is a very expensive business and it is the view of the Health and Safety Executive that they can continue with the dissemination of necessary information without this annual charge, which is rather in excess of £200,000 a year.


My Lords, is the Minister aware that my noble friend Lord Crook has a particular interest in this matter, in that he was associated with this organisation for a great many years?

The Earl of GOWRIE

I am aware of that, my Lords, and that is one reason why I paid tribute to the work the centre had done; but we must remember that any monies that can be saved by the Health and Safety Executive in this area can be deployed by them in other areas where they themselves judge they may be cost-effective.


My Lords, can the noble Earl give the House some idea of the criteria which were used to determine whether this centre was or was not cost-effective?

The Earl of GOWRIE

My Lords, the Health and Safety Executive, like all Government bodies, have had to recognise the public expenditure constraints under which they must operate, and within those constraints they have to decide what the most effective provision for their work may be. As I said, the Health and Safety Executive came to the conclusion that they could deploy resources more effectively than in the Horseferry Road Centre.

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