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Benefit Office, Aytoun Street, Manchester

Volume 124: debated on Wednesday 16 December 1987

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To ask the Secretary of State for Employment what steps his Department has taken to ensure that all the fire doors at the unemployment benefit office in Aytoun street, Manchester are working; how security locks on fire doors are to be operated in conditions of smoke; and when the fire brigade last inspected these offices.

I have been asked to reply.Routine maintenance is undertaken by the Department of Employment under the property repayment services arrangements but no alterations to fire doors may be carried out without the prior approval of the Property Services Agency. The security locks on fire doors are operated either by quick release handles or by breaking glass bolts to open the doors in the direction of the escape routes, the operations would not he hindered by conditions of smoke. In common with all other Crown premises, the unemployment benefit office in Aytoun street, Manchester, is not subject to inspection by the local authority fire brigade but is inspected on an hi-annual cycle by the Property Services Agency fire officers, the last such inspection having been carried out on 19 February 1987.