§ Mr. David Marshall
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the ESRC Health Inequalities Programme conducted by the University of Bristol; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Galbraith
[holding answer 23 February 1998]: The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Health Variations Programme of interdisciplinary research aims to improve understanding of the health inequalities which currently exist between socio-economic groups in the UK. The Programme has two Phases, and 13 projects are underway in Phase 1.
The 2 projects which are being taken forward at the University of Bristol focus on housing and community health, and on methods for studying socio-economic position and health in different ethnic groups. Both projects are ongoing. Their findings will contribute to the research outcome of the overall Programme scheduled for completion in 2001. Thereafter, ESRC will undertake an assessment of the Programme to which the UK health departments will have access.
The work of the ESRC in the area of health inequalities is welcome and will inform the Government's continuing policies for tackling health inequalities, a task to which they have given their full commitment.