§ Mr. Ashley
To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether he has sent any officials to the Peto institute in Budapest to investigate the help given by conductive education to those suffering from Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, the effects of strokes, and brain damage after road accidents;
(2) from which individuals or organisations external to his Department he has sought advice about the value of conductive education and if he will indicate in each case what information he has as to whether the source of the advice has visited the Peto institute in Budapest;
(3) how many requests he has received for his Department to support the research project into conductive education being carried out by Birmingham university; who, external to his Department, gave advice on the project; and what information he has as to whether they had visited the Peto institute in Budapest;
(4) how much money has been provided by his Department to support research into conductive education as practised by the Peto institute in Budapest, or into its provision.
§ Mrs. Currie
Since October 1986 we have received approximately 70 letters in support of conductive education, a number of which contained requests for support for the project being undertaken in Birmingham. The Department of Education and Science has agreed to make £326,000 available over a period of five years in support of an evaluation by Birmingham university of the Birmingham project. We sought advice on the evaluation from academic referees, whose help is always given under a guarantee of anonymity. We have also received informed views from a number of people, some of whom have visited the Peto institute, including several hon. Members. Against that background, we have taken the view that no additional purpose would be served at this stage by sending officials to visit the Peto institute in Budapest. However, we shall review the position in light of the survey we are funding jointly with the Department of Education and Science, currently being undertaken by the Spastics Society, of the extent to which some aspects of conductive education are being used in this country.