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Embargo: Immediate, Thursday 27 July 2006

Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659

LORDS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE LAUNCH INQUIRY INTO ALLERGY

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee have today published a call for evidence for a new inquiry into allergy.

Allergy rates in the UK are among the highest in the world and the Committee will seek to identify why this is the case. They will also explore what policies could be introduced to cope with the growing numbers suffering from allergic diseases across the country.

The Committee will be investigating all aspects of allergy and are particularly keen to receive evidence on the following questions:

  • Why is the incidence of allergy and allergic disease rising and why does the UK have such a high rate?

  • What is the socio-economic impact of allergic disease and what is the impact on health services?

  • How effective have Government policy and advice been in addressing the rise allergies?

  • How effective have Government departments been in taking account of allergies in developing policies in such areas as housing and food?

  • What are most promising emerging areas of research into the prevention or management of allergy?

Commenting, Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, who will chair the Sub-Committee conducting the inquiry, said:

"We all know that the incidence of allergy has risen dramatically, and the Government have begun to acknowledge the big gaps in Health Service provision for sufferers. But there are lots of unanswered questions.

"Why is the allergy rate in the UK the highest in the world? What new treatments are emerging, and how are they being tested? Are government policies on housing, education and the environment taking on board this emerging problem?

"We need answers to all these questions and this inquiry will attempt to deliver them."

Notes to Editors

1. A call for evidence was issued on 28/7/2006 and can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/hlscience.

2. The deadline for the submission of written evidence is: 23/10/2006

3. The members of the Committee who will conduct the inquiry are: Lord Broers (Chairman), Lord Howie of Troon, Lord Mitchell, Lord Patel, Lord Paul, Lord Sutherland of Houndwood, Lord Young of Graffham. Other members will be confirmed in the autumn.

4.For more information or to arrange an interview with Lord Broers, who will chair the inquiry, please contact Owen Williams (Committee Press Officer) on 020 7219 8659 or [email protected]