§ Mr. Hepburn
To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much funding was made available to the Medical Research Council for research into autism each year from 1992 to 2001; and how the £2.5 million funding available to the Medical Research Council for continued research into autism will be used. 
§ Jacqui Smith
The Medical Research Council (MRC) funds a large amount of work on the causes and treatment of autism, and to increase the knowledge base of issues surrounding autism. In recent years the MRC has spent the following amounts on autism research:
£ 1996–97 826,000 1997–98 905,000 1998–99 1,041,000 1999–2000 1,114,000 2000–01 1,182,000
Information for earlier years is not readily available.
I announced on 14 February an extra £2.5 million to the MRC to help them to take forward recommendations on further research contained in their report of their review of the epidemiology and causes of autism. The additional funds provide the opportunity for the MRC to accelerate research on autism, building on existing strengths and addressing gaps which were identified in the report. It will complement and add to the MRC's current support for research in this field. It is likely that the range of research supported will be broader than that of the MRC review and may include research to develop and evaluate interventions. Previous research has not been supported from ring-fenced funding. We will continue to pursue our constructive dialogue with the MRC on autism research.