HC Deb 09 May 1978 vol 949 cc953-4
3. Mr. Hugh Jenkins

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he expects to be able to make a full statement on his discussions on research into alternative systems instead of use of animals in toxicity testing and hazard evaluation.

The Minister of State, Department of Health and Social Security (Mr. Roland Moyle)

When interdepartmental discussions co-ordinated by my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary, in which my Department is playing a part, are concluded. I am aware of public concern.

Mr. Jenkins

Does my hon. Friend recall that as long ago as December last the Prime Minister said that he would be bending all possible efforts in this matter and would be moving as quickly as possible? Is my right hon. Friend satis- fied that the Prime Minister is bending all possible efforts and is moving as quickly as possible? Will he at least say something on the matter?

Mr. Moyle

Yes, but the principle of policy involved extends across at least three other Government Departments and it is essential to co-ordinate our approach. Subject to that, we are working as fast as we can.

Mr. Burden

Does not the expression that other Government Departments are involved frequently mean that there is interminable delay in arriving at conclusions? Will the Minister give an undertaking that the matter is being looked on by his Department as one of urgency and that he is also trying to instil the same urgency in the other Departments involved?

Mr. Moyle

Yes, I can give that assurance.