§ 11. Mr. Simon Hughes
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) deaths, (b) major injuries and (c) minor injuries there were in non-movement accidents during 1988 on British Rail property in Great Britain.
§ Mr. Portillo
Full railway accident statistics for 1988 will be published in the chief inspecting officer of railways' annual report later in the year. The information presently available shows 17 deaths, of which 14 were those of trespassers or suicides, 310 major injuries and 3,864 minor injuries.
§ Mr. Hughes
I am grateful to the Minister for those figures. Is it not clear from the recent inquest on my constituent Paul Elvin, who died at Euston, that British Rail does not enforce the rules governing the employment of contractors on its premises and that it does not comply with the rules that require it to ensure, for example, that there are circuit breakers to turn off the mains cables if there is someone on the line? Will he guarantee that the railway inspectorate will prosecute where there is clear evidence of criminal failure by British Rail and others working on its property, as that has not happened often enough in the past?
§ Mr. Portillo
I am not familiar with the case to which the hon. Gentleman refers, although I shall definitely look into it. These are matters for the Health and Safety Commission and the railway inspectorate. In the broadest terms, I can confirm that both those bodies have the power to prosecute when it seems appropriate to do so.