§ Mr. Hancock
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 12 June 2003 from the hon. Member for South Derbyshire (Mr. Todd),Official Report, column 1005W, on animal welfare, what research his Department has commissioned into the effectiveness of (a) the interdepartmental Concordat on Data Sharing and (b) measures in finding alternative methods of testing other than using animals; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Caroline Flint
The inter-Departmental Concordat on Data Sharing was announced in August 2000. Its aims included minimising data requirements for animal tests as far as possible, encouraging data sharing between clients, wherever appropriate, and seeking to overcome any procedural and legal barriers to data sharing. As it has now been in place for almost three years, we are reviewing its effectiveness. Accordingly, my hon.864W
Friend the Member for Coventry, North-East (Mr. Ainsworth), invited ministerial colleagues to review implementation of the Concordat and provide views on how it might be up dated.
As to other measures, every year the Home Office makes available to the Animal Procedures Committee (APC) a budget for the development and promotion of the 3Rs—alternatives which replace animal use, reduce the number of animals used, or refine the procedures involved to minimise suffering. Details of completed research are published in the Annual Report of the Animal Procedures Committee, which is available from The Stationery Office and on the Committee's website. The amount being made available to the Committee for 2003—04 is £280,000.
In addition, the Home Office leads the inter-Departmental Group on the 3Rs, whose terms of reference are to improve the application of the 3Rs and promote research into alternatives, reducing the need for toxicity testing through better sharing of data, and encouraging the validation and acceptance of alternatives. The Group is currently preparing revised guidance on the conduct of regulatory toxicology and safety evaluation studies and, arising from the Government response to the House of Lords Select Committee on animals in scientific procedures, has also been tasked with exploring the scope for a United Kingdom Centre for research into the 3Rs.
We were also a co-sponsor of the fourth World Congress on Alternatives and Animal Use in the Life Sciences held in New Orleans in August 2002, publish a number of guidance and best practice documents on the Home Office web site and contribute regularly to events and activities intended to develop or promote work relating to the 3Rs.