§ Mr. John Carlisle
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will make a statement on the progress made in implementing the recommendations made by Lord Justice Taylor in respect of the safety of sports grounds.
§ Mr. John Patten
Our initial response to Lord Justice Taylor's final report on the Hillsborough stadium disaster 259W was summarised in my right hon. and learned Friend's statement on 29 January at columns 19–22, and our detailed interim responses to its 76 specific recommendations were set out more fully in the schedule placed in the Vote Office on that date.
A large number of the safety recommendations contained in the final report were originally included in Lord Justice Taylor's interim report. Our information is that they and many of the non-urgent safety recommendations were largely and quickly implemented by the responsible authorities. Of the main recommendations of the final report still outstanding, we have made it clear that the primary responsibility for the reduction of standing accommodation at football league clubs in accordance with the timetable proposed by Lord Justice Taylor rests with the clubs themselves. The Football Licensing Authority, whose chairman has now been named and which will become fully operational as quickly as possible, will provide in England and Wales the national inspectorate and review body recommended in the report. It will also examine the plans which league clubs have made and advise us, in due course, whether progress towards all-seated accommodation is satisfactory. Powers are available under section 11 of the Football Spectators Act 1989 to enforce that progress, if they are needed. We are still considering the application of these particular recommendations to sports other than football.
The Football Association and the Football League have agreed, as recommended in the report, to set up an advisory design council. The report's recommendations on offences and penalties are still under active consideration by the Home Office. The "Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds" is currently being revised, by the Home Departments with the assistance of a working group of experts, with a view to publication in the autumn.
Recommendations addressed to the police and the co-ordination of emergency services have, so far as practicable, been complied with. New guidance on the charges to be made by police authorities to clubs for the cost of policing inside grounds has been drafted and will be issued after the current round of consultation has been completed.