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MPs demand corporate manslaughter offence

MPS HAVE told the government to stop stalling and introduce an offence of corporate manslaughter to help cut back the 'unacceptable' death rate in the construction industry.

'People are put in jail for non-payment of council tax yet no-one in the industry responsible for a death has received a jail sentence, ' said Labour MP Bill Tynan.

In a special House of Commons debate on construction deaths last week, MPs also called for greatly increased fines for safety infringements and more money for the Health & Safety Executive's construction division.

They also called for urgent moves to make designers more aware of their responsibilities in designing for safety and incentives to bring subcontractors into line with main contractors' safety procedures on sites.

These might include reductions in insurance premiums for firms able to demonstrate compliance.

Minister for work Jane Kennedy agreed that courts often set fines too low and said that the government was supporting a private members' bill on the topic which would 'send a message' to judges.

She also said that public sector procurement should make safety a higher priority, with local and central government contracts let on the basis of best value taking whole life health and safety into account.

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