HC Deb 20 April 1915 vol 71 cc178-9

asked the Prime Minister if, having regard to the effect of the War on the statistics of births and deaths, he will consider whether, either by legislation or administrative order, the Notification of Births Act, 1907, now optional in character, can be made compulsory?

142. Mr. SNOWDEN

asked the President of the Local Government Board if, in view of the still greater importance in the future of preventing the waste of child life, and in view of the great benefits which have resulted from the partial adoption of the Notification of Births Act, he will take steps to make that Act compulsory?

143. Mr. KING

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he has considered the need of the provisions of the Notification of Births Act, 1907, being adopted for the whole country; and whether, by any means short of legislation, the utility of its operation can be extended to those localities in which this Act has not yet been adopted?


My right hon. Friend has asked me to reply to this question, and perhaps I may at the same time reply to the two further questions, numbered 142 and 143, on the same subject. The Notification of Births Act imposes no duty on a local authority to follow up notifications made under it, and unless this work is undertaken the chief value of the Act is not secured. The Department have generally considered that it is preferable to persuade local authorities to adopt the Act and to carry out health visiting and other measures for the benefit of persons whose cases are brought to their notice in pursuance of the Act, rather than simply to put the Act in force compulsorily. I may add that the Act is now in force in respect of about 75 per cent. of the total population of England and Wales, and that the question of the adoption of the Act is now under consideration in several areas.