HC Deb 19 December 1912 vol 45 cc1676-7

asked the Prime Minister whether his attention has been called to the Annual Report for 1911 of Sir George Newman, the chief medical officer of the Board of Education, indicating that more than half the children in the public elementary schools are suffering from malnutrition or its many morbid effects; and whether, in view of the ultimate effects upon the nation of the continuance of such conditions, he will appoint a Special Committee to inquire whether and to what exent such malnutrition is traceable to poverty or ignorance as to the relative nutritive value of foods, and to suggest a remedy or remedies?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. J. A. Pease)

The Prime Minister has asked me to answer this question. Sir George Newman's report does not indicate that more than half the children in public elementary schools are suffering from malnutrition or its morbid effects, nor must it be assumed that the interpretation suggested by the hon. Member can be placed on the report without qualification. I may remind the hon. Member that some progress has already been made as the results of the action of local authorities under the Provision of Meals Act, of medical inspection, and the establishment of Care Committees, and I have reason to hope that much good may result from the increased provision of instruction in hygiene and cookery throughout the country, and by the public attention which is being drawn to the subject. The Board intend to give careful and continuous attention to this question, and the Government do not see any necessity at present for the appointment of a Special Committee.