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Volume 169: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1990

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To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer in what circumstances the Treasury indemnifies private undertakings for their negligence; and if he will list the undertakings so protected.

As a general rule the Government do not indemnify private undertakings for their negligence.However, my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Health and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales have, with the agreement of the Treasury, issued to certain water undertakers (i) statutory indemnities under section 172 of the Water Act 1989 and (ii) non-statutory indemnities in accordance with minutes laid before Parliament on 23 November 1989. These indemnities cover liabilities incurred by the water undertakers concerned in connection with the addition of fluoride to the water they supply. The indemnities specifically exclude any liabilities, costs, expenses or expenditure incurred in respect of any criminal proceedings.