HC Deb 22 June 1994 vol 245 c227W
Mr. Page

To ask the President of the Board of Trade whether the review of fire safety legislation and enforcement he announced on 17 January has produced its report; whether it will be published; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Heseltine

The review team submitted its report to my right hon. and learned Friend the Home Secretary and my right hon. Friends the Secretaries of State for Wales and for the Environment and myself on 24 May. We are publishing the report today and copies have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

The review team has carried out a thorough evaluation of the present system and identified a number of potential improvements. Since January, the review team has undertaken widespread consultation with all interested parties. It has found that there is an overlap in present legislation and that enforcement arrangements may impose burdens on businesses and create avoidable uncertainty. Enforcement responsibilities are sometimes blurred. This makes more difficult the task of enforcing the legislation and co-ordinating the activities of the various enforcers.

The report puts forward a number of proposals which the review team believes would reduce burdens on business and introduce greater clarity into the system without undermining safety standards. These recommendations are now under consideration by Ministers. No decisions have yet been taken and we are committed to full consultation before any proposals for changing the existing arrangements are made. We would welcome the views of interested parties. We shall be consulting those organisations with a known interest in this matter for their views by 31 October 1994.

The review team has risen well to the challenge, and we expect that greater clarity and simpler arrangements will improve standards of fire safety.

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