HC Deb 21 January 1970 vol 794 c510
38. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what reply he has sent to the request from the Bute County Council for an inquiry into the cost of introducing sodium fluoride into the public water supply of Bute, Arran and the Cumbrae.

Mr. Millan

There has been no request for an inquiry. The county council has been considering the fluoridation of its water supplies and is in touch with my Department about the possible cost.

Mr. Rankin

As the Government have taken no decision on fluoridation, may I ask whether it is competent for them to employ public funds to pay any local authority on a matter of this nature?

Mr. Millan

We have taken a decision, which is to encourage local authorities to fluoridate their water, and we are anxious that they should do that.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there is growing public concern about chemicals being put in food and water? Would it not be fair, wise and sensible to say that no local authority in Scotland should fluoridate its water supplies without taking a referendum of the whole population?

Mr. Millan

I am not aware that there is increasing public concern about this matter. However, I am aware that there is increasing public concern about dental decay, which this would do a great deal to ameliorate.