HC Deb 08 April 1968 vol 762 cc876-7
41. Mr. Fortescue

asked the Minister of Social Security what research is being carried out at present within her Department; and what plans she has for more research in the future.

Mrs. Hart

My Department is continuously engaged in the examination and interpretation of statistical material available to the Ministry, and the development of techniques for obtaining analysing other relevant information.

The Department is also closely involved in the planning of the major survey of the permanently and substantially handicapped initiated by my right hon. Friend he Minister of Health.

I am at present considering what the priorities should be in relation to other specific research projects I have in mind.

Mr. Fortescue

As a result of the news last Friday, can we now be sure that all research being done in the right hon. Lady's Ministry will be very closely coordinated with that being done in the Ministry of Health?

Mrs. Hart

Indeed, this will be so. The hon. Gentleman will be aware of the degree of co-ordination there is already in planning the survey of the disabled. I am quite convinced that we can all gain from even further co-ordination.

Lord Balniel

As the Government have now accepted the suggestion they have repeatedly rejected in the past of amalgamating the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Security, will they now accept this recommendation, which also we have repeatedly made, of greatly strengthening the research department of her Ministry?

Mrs. Hart

I have anticipated the noble Lord's pressure for increased research facilities, because I have been strengthening the research facilities of my Department. If the noble Lord looks at the proposals now made by the Government for the amalgamation of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Security, he will find that these proposals are rather different from those put forward by the Conservative Party, which spread a great deal wider, and more unfortunately.