SIR WALTER FOSTER (Derbyshire, Ilkeston)
To ask the President of the Local Government Board, whether he is aware that the registrars of births and deaths have been accustomed to supply the weekly newspapers in country districts and small towns with the lists of deaths registered by them; whether this custom has been recently discontinued, and, if so, by whose orders; and whether he will communicate with the Registrar-General on the subject with a view to the continuance of a custom which gives information to the public.
(Answered by Mr. Walter Long.) I am aware that in a certain number of cases lists 1049 of deaths have been supplied to the Press by registrars of births and deaths. This, however, has been done in contravention of the regulation on the subject. The Registrar - General has received complaints as to the publication of particulars which may lead to the identification of individuals, and he considers that any such publication tends to make persons unwilling to furnish information for registration purposes, and consequently to impair the reliability of vital statistics. He has recently issued a circular with a view to a strict observance of the regulation in future, and I am not prepared to interfere with his discretion in the matter.