§ 12. Mr. Cledwyn Hughes
asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will make a statement of his intentions concerning the fluoridation of water supplies in Anglesey.
§ Mr. John Morris
After full consideration of representations made by the Anglesey Borough Council and by my right hon. Friend. I have concluded that it would be best, on balance, to leave the existing long-standing arrangements in the island undisturbed pending the independent report on fluoridation from the Royal College of Physicians and a Government consultative document on preventive health generally. Both these 16 documents are in preparation. I am today informing the Anglesey Borough Council and the area health authority of this view and will let my right hon. Friend have copies.
§ Mr. Hughes
When is this independent report likely to be published? Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that what he has just said will be received in Anglesey with considerable disappointment and dismay? Is he further aware that, whatever the merits or otherwise of the fluoridation of water supplies, the Anglesey Borough Council and the great majority of community councils in the county are asking for fluoridation to be discontinued, because they have no confidence in the claims made for it, because they do not believe that it should be imposed on them now by a nominated body and because, after nearly 20 years of the fluoridation of water supplies, Anglesey remains almost the only part of the United Kingdom where fluoride is added to the drinking water? Will my right hon. and learned Friend therefore consider, as a matter of urgency, suspending the fluoridation of water supplies in Anglesey until the report to which he hag referred is published?
§ Mr. Morris
I entirely understand the concern that my right hon. Friend has expressed to me and to my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary on more than one occasion, and I share his view of the importance of the strong feelings of local people in this matter, as expressed through locally elected bodies. However, he knows much better than I that it was a local body—the old Anglesey County Council—which introduced fluoridation. I am satisfied that no harm will come from awaiting the documents that I have mentioned and the public debate that may be expected to follow. I must therefore disappoint my right hon. Friend.
The report of the Royal College of Physicians may be expected later this year. Work is proceeding as quickly as possible on the Government's consultative document and I hope that it will follow shortly after the report of the Royal College of Physicians.