HC Deb 20 December 1999 vol 341 cc523-4
32. Sir Sydney Chapman (Chipping Barnet)

If the commissioners will make a statement on the proposed use of genetically modified organisms on their land. [101988]

Mr. Stuart Bell (Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing the Church Commissioners)

The Church Commissioners are currently awaiting advice from the Church of England ethical investment advisory group, which develops a co-ordinated ethical investment policy for the Church, and which is currently involved in a detailed study and consultation process regarding genetically modified organisms.

Sir Sydney Chapman

I wish the hon. Gentleman and his fellow Church Commissioners the compliments of the season.

In view of the widespread interest in and controversy surrounding genetically modified foods, will the hon. Gentleman tell the House exactly what was agreed at the ethical investment advisory group meeting on 1 December?

Mr. Bell

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his question. No policy decisions affecting genetically modified organisms were made at the meeting on 1 December. At that meeting the members had an opportunity to discuss collectively the evidence presented so far and to weigh up, from a Christian perspective, the potential benefits and risks attendant on the technology.

The Church Commissioners are grateful to receive the best wishes of the season, and we extend such wishes to the entire House, including all right hon. and hon. Members and their staff.