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Firework Casualties

Volume 886: debated on Monday 10 February 1975

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33.

asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if she is now able to issue the firework casualty figures for November 1974; and if she will make a statement.

Statistics based on information provided by hospitals in England and Wales relating to persons who received hospital treatment for injuries caused by fireworks during the period 13th October to 9th November 1974 have just become available. I will, with permission circulate them in the Official Report, with the figures for the comparable periods in the four preceding years.

While not expecting an answer today, may I have an assurance that as soon as these figures are published the Minister will forthwith have consultative studies and then call a conference of all the bodies and organisations interested, particularly those concerned with the campaign for firework reform?

I have indicated that I am publishing the figures in the Official Report. I am sure that my hon. Friend, whose deep interest in this matter

FIREWORK INJURIES IN ENGLAND AND WALES (4-week period in October/November)

Year

1974

1973

1972

1971

1970

TOTAL8831,1861,2601,0591,164
PLACE OF ACCIDENT
1. Family or private party267385441382433
2. Public or semi-public party137153166139155
3. Casual incident in street etc272422422349399
4. Other place89119958887
5. Do not know11810713610190
TYPE OF FIREWORK
1. Banger228356369316359
2. Rocket70118129126160
3. Jumping Cracker4258514746
4. Other flyabout (flying saucer, helicopter, whirlibird etc.)52Included in 7
5. Display Firework (e.g. Roman Candle or Coloured Fires etc.)151280262223250
6. Home made or extracted powder2938545748
7. Other6079838295
8. Do not know251257312208206

I well understand, will welcome the fact that the injuries figure for last year, the lowest ever, represents a 25 per cent. fall compared with the previous year.

I have already given a commitment to the House that I will issue a consultative document. I hope to get it out by the end of March. Every group with a special interest and information will have the right to participate in the discussion. I doubt whether a conference as such would be the most appropriate way of dealing with this matter. This is the kind of issue in which the individual details need to be argued in depth.

We greatly welcome the steps being taken by my hon. Friend. However, when this was a matter for the Home Office many of us had hoped to see legislation before another 5th November. I would earnestly point out that my hon. Friend must get cracking if something is to be done before then.

Having the generosity to interpret that as an unintentional pun, I should point out that when my hon. Friend looks at the figures he will find that we were justified in waiting to see them as they may upset certain preconceived positions taken by some individuals. For example, the accident trend with organised firework displays is not as encouraging as the figures generally. Important matters of public interest are involved which merit full public discussion.

SEVERITY OF INJURY
1. Died00010
2. Detained more than one night7080916974
3. Sufficient to cause absence from work or equivalent12117814388104
4. Minor injury6548921,009879965
5. Do not know3836172221
AGE GROUP OF INJURED PERSONS
Over 21131195167145184
16–205874685696
13–15184248257210226
Under 13510669768648658
SEX OF CASUALTIES
Male7139661,022851913
Female170219235203251
Not recorded1350
EYE INJURIES372448449386418