§ Mr. Tom Cox
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services what financial help has been given to all regional health authorities in the United Kingdom towards the cost of removing asbestos from health authority premises.
§ Mr. John Patten
No specific funds have been allocated for this purpose. Our advice to health authorities, recently reinforced, is that where asbestos is in sound condition it is safer not to disturb it, for a hazard arises only where asbestos is affected in such a way that dust is released. The identification, and treatment or removal of asbestos in a hazardous condition is part of health authorities' duties for the care and maintenance of buildings, and they must meet the costs from their allocations. To retain centrally and separately allocate funds for this specific purpose would only create unnecessary delays.