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Fire Precautions Act 1971

Volume 977: debated on Thursday 31 January 1980

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11.

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he is satisfied with the operation of the Fire Precautions Act 1971.

The working of the Act is currently under review by the appro- priate sub-committee of the Central Fire Brigades Advisory Councils for England and Wales and for Scotland. We shall consider the need for change in the light of whatever recommendations may be made.

I am grateful to my hon. and learned Friend for that reply. Can he confirm that in most areas of the country nearly all hotels and boarding houses have been inspected and that the majority have been certified? Will he also consider designating further uses of premises to come under the Fire Precautions Act in some parts of the countrry ahead of others in relation to the progress they have made under existing designation orders?

What my hon. Friend has said about hotels and boarding houses is correct. Tribute should be paid to the considerable efforts made by the fire service and the hoteliers and proprietors of boarding houses. We are still considering further designations in different parts of the country. We had an opportunity to go into that matter at greater length last Monday during my hon. Friend's Adjournment debate but we are not yet in a position to make any announcement.

Has the Under-Secretary of State recently received a letter from the chief fire officer of the Merseyside county fire brigade, criticising the design of St George's shopping precinct in Liverpool, which was recently destroyed by fire? Will he consider giving greater powers to chief fire officers to enable them to enforce fire regulations in large shopping precincts? Will he also consider making it compulsory to install fire sprinkler systems in large shopping precincts?

I shall look into the matter of the shopping precinct and write to the hon. Gentleman.