§ 35. Mr. R. RICHARDSON
asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that for the quarter ending December, 1927, the infantile mortality rate in the urban district of Houghton-le-Spring reached the figure of 210 per thousand births; that in the month of October it was over 300 per thousand, and for January of the present year it was 210; is he aware that the medical officer of health and the district council are satisfied that such is due to insufficient nourishment for mothers and babies due to their impoverished condition; and what, if any, proposals he has made to remedy this state of affairs?
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Chamberlain)
No, Sir. The official figures supplied by the Registrar-General show that for the quarter ended December, 1927, the infant mortality rate for the urban district of Houghtonle-Spring was 152. There are no official figures for this district for separate months, and I would point out that in a district with such a small population very slight variations in the numbers of births or infantile deaths result in such substantial differences in the monthly infant mortality rate as to render them of little value for purposes of comparison. As regards the last two parts of the question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer given yesterday on this subject to my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Sedge-field (Major Ropner).
§ Mr. RICHARDSON
Is the right hon. Gentleman not aware that the medical 2090 officer of health has given the, figures from October until February and that there is little or no diminution, that he says it is the highest death-rate that has ever been recorded in Houghton-le-Spring, and that he is certain it is because of the under-feeding of mothers and children?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
I think that is merely a repetition of the question, but I would point out to the hon. Member that in an area with so small a population as this the addition of one death means an addition of 50 per 1,000 in the mortality rate.