HC Deb 09 March 1970 vol 797 cc885-6
4. Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what has been the cost to his Department during the current financial year of propaganda to promote the case for fluoride in water supplies.

Mr. Crossman

As to expenditure of finances through the Health Education Council, most of whose income is provided by my Department, I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply on 9th February to my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Govan (Mr. Rankin). About £300, excluding cost of staff time, has been spent directly by my Department.—[Vol. 795, c. 237–8.]

Mr. Judd

I thank my right hon. Friend for that reply. Would he agree that a number of local authorities throughout the country are making half-baked decisions on the basis of totally inadequate information? Would his Department give higher priority to making sure that proper and authentic information is available for local authorities when considering this vital subject?

Mr. Crossman

I suggest to my hon. Friend that, however much money, time and trouble one takes, eyes which are determinedly closed cannot be opened.

Sir G. Nabarro

Hear, hear.

Mr. Fortescue

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that practically every dentist is enthusiastically in favour of the fluoridation of water in the interests of patients?

Mr. Crossman

I am aware of that. I must admit that, while in respect of public education I am an old-fashioned Liberal, I am being gradually but inevitably driven to the view that we may have to legislate to deal with this problem.

Mr. Rankin

Despite all that my right hon. Friend says, will he agree that sodium fluoride in itself is a poisonous substance?

Mr. Crossman

I think that it would be dangerous, even on that extremely attractive suggestion, to agree with my hon. Friend.