§ Mr. Pendry
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice his Department has issued to local authorities on their responsibilities for granting safety certificates for, and overseeing reductions in, standing accommodation at football grounds in England and Wales for the 1990–91 football season.
§ Mr. John Patten
[holding answer 25 June 1990]: The Home Office has given advice to local authorities in England and Wales on their responsibilities under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act in a number of circulars over the past 15 years. The safety standards which local authorities are currently advised to apply for both seated and standing accommodation are those recommended in the 1986 edition of the "Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds" produced by the Home Office and the Scottish Office, subject to certain changes recommended in Lord Justice Taylor's interim and final reports on the Hillsborough tragedy of which local authorities in England and Wales were advised in circulars on 4 August 1989 and 7 February 1990.
We are advised that it would not be appropriate to use safety certificates to require football grounds to reduce standing accommodation which meets accepted standards of safety or when specific powers are available in other legislation. The circular of 7 February 1990 therefore advised local authorities that they should not be used for this purpose. It is for the football clubs to respond to Lord Justice Taylor's recommendations on all-seated accommodation in the first instance. Powers under section 11 of the Football Spectators Act will be used in due course if it proves necessary to do so.