None. Our approval is not required. But I understand that Mid, West and South Glamorgan Area Health Authorities have all decided to introduce new schemes when finances permit. Estimated costs are available only for West and South Glamorgan at about £50,000 and £100,000 respectively.
Is not the Minister aware that the expenditure of such moneys at a time when there is a cut-back in essential services would be viewed with amazement by members of the public and, indeed, by those elected councils in the South Glamorgan area which opposed the introduction of fluoridation, which is an extremely debatable form of compulsory medication?
The Cardiff Community Health Council, the St. Fagan's Community Health Council and all the professional opinion in the area support the area health authority. Fluoridation is by far the cheapest and most effective means of safeguarding dental health. It is our policy to encourage it. Dental health in Wales is not in a good state.
Because one-third of the people over the age of 16 have no teeth and because dental decay sets in before 16, will the Minister give priority to fluoridation? Will he, in particular, encourage other Government services to provide, for instance, voluntary application of fluoride through mouthwashes, fluoride at school and topical application under the National Health Service?
My hon. Friend has adopted a statesmanlike attitude in this matter in his constituency. I expect area health authorities thoroughly to consult local opinion, but their decision is their own in the light of their duty to safeguard health.