§ Mr. Stunell
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps he plans to take to improve access to registration records; 
(2) what plans he has to reform the system of access to civil registration records; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Ms Hewitt
The Registration Acts are quite specific as to the means of access to all the records of births, deaths and marriages. The Acts allow members of the public to search the indexes in order to identify the entries they are looking for and to obtain certified copies (certificates) on payment of the appropriate statutory fees. The Registrar General has no powers to make available or disclose registration information in any other way,
It is widely acknowledged that the present arrangements, whereby there is no right to browse through individual records and extract information, are unnecessarily restrictive. The Registrar General is reconsidering the proposals in the 1990 White Paper "Registration: proposals 1116W for change" (Cm 939) about access to registration records. He is preparing an options paper for the Government to consider. This should be ready by the end of the year.