Farmers (Suicide)

Oral Answers to Questions — Wales – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 24th April 1995.

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Photo of Martyn Jones Martyn Jones , Clwyd South West 12:00 am, 24th April 1995

To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many working farmers have committed suicide in (a) Clwyd and (b) Wales in each of the last 10 years. [18732]

Photo of Mr Gwilym Jones Mr Gwilym Jones , Cardiff North

With permission, Madam Speaker, as the information is a little lengthy, I am arranging for the figures to be published in the Official Report. The total numbers for the 10-year period are eight for Clwyd and 84 for Wales.

Photo of Martyn Jones Martyn Jones , Clwyd South West

I am grateful for that answer. I am sure that the Minister will have looked at the figures before asking for them to be published in the Official Report, so he will have noticed that there is a worrying trend in the suicide statistics for the farming fraternity. Has he examined any possible connection between the use of organophosphorous sheep dips and the tendency to suicides in the farming community? There is evidence that there may well be a connection; if there is, it is very worrying.

Photo of Mr Gwilym Jones Mr Gwilym Jones , Cardiff North

I appreciate the hon. Gentleman's concern. Whatever the figures are, they are too high. He will be pleased to know that appropriate research is being done under the Powys mental health strategy; a study in north Powys is seeking to identify predictive factors. At the same time, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health has commissioned research from the university of Oxford. I join the hon. Gentleman in hoping that this research will make progress.

Following is the information:

Deaths of farmers recorded as suicide
YearClwydWales
1984312
198516
1986117
19872
19889
198927
199010
19918
199214
19939

Source: Office of Population Censuses and Surveys.