§ Mr. Wheeler
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services when he will consult representatives of statutory and voluntary bodies and of retailers about solvent misuse; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg
Letters were sent on Tuesday 18 January to representatives of statutory and voluntary bodies concerned with solvent misusers in England and to representatives of retailers in England and Wales seeking their views on ways of tackling solvent misuse. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Wales is similarly consulting statutory and voluntary bodies in Wales.
Copies of the consultation letters are being placed in the Library.
The letter to the statutory and voluntary bodies sets out the problem of solvent misuse and describes what these bodies have variously been doing to prevent solvent misuse and help solvent misusers and their parents. The Government action already in hand in support of their work is listed. The letter also seeks views on further Government action in support of this work, in particular on:
- (i) the role of child care legislation;
- (ii) the role of criminal law in relation to solvent misuse;
- (iii) training aids for professionals;
- (iv) training arrangements for professionals;
- (v) new posts to stimulate local agencies' response to solvent misuse;
- (vi) ways of disseminating good practice.
The letter to retailers' representatives contains similar information and describes the initiatives of retailers in many areas in exercising voluntary restraint in selling solvent products. Views are invited, in particular on:
- (i) Whether retailers are generally willing to exercise voluntary restraints?
- (ii) Whether existing arrangements work well, or should voluntary restraints be co-ordinated or promoted?
- (iii) How might this be done; whether there is scope for a trade regulated code; what might the Government do to promote such a code?
Those consulted are asked to discuss widely the issues raised and to reply by 29 April 1983.