HC Deb 30 April 1903 vol 121 cc943-4
MR. HENRY HOBHOUSE (Somersetshire, E.)

To ask the President of the Local Government Board, if, in view of the uselessness to county medical officers of health of the vital statistics at present issued for registration counties and districts, he will consider if these statistics can in future be issued for the urban and rural sanitary districts instead of for areas which often overlap the administrative counties.

(Answered by Mr. Walter Long.) I have been in communication with the Registrar-General on this subject, and I find that he considers himself bound to publish statistics for registration districts and sub-districts which, as contemplated by the Births and Deaths Registration Acts, correspond with poor law unions and divisions of such unions. It would be impracticable, therefore, to issue the statistics for the sanitary districts instead of for the existing areas. The Registrar General also informs me that, if it was proposed to treat these districts as statistical units in addition to the present areas, this arrangement would involve an enormous amount of extra labour, and a large increase in the staff of his office. At the same time I sympathise with the object which my right hon. friend has in view, and perhaps some modified proposals might be made on the subject If this is done I will take care that any such proposals shall receive thorough consideration.