HC Deb 08 December 1932 vol 272 cc1771-3
21. Mr. HICKS

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether his attention has been drawn to the report of the medical officer of health for Hammersmith, drawing attention to the malnutrition of children in this area owing to poverty and high rents, and giving particulars of certain cases; and whether he will investigate the condition of the children in the schools of this area, with the view of ascertaining whether an extension of school feeding is necessary?


I have seen the report in question. Children attending schools in the borough of Hammersmith come within the scope of the arrangements made by the London County Council for the provision of meals. The council have made most careful arrangements to detect and prevent malnutrition amongst school-children and I have no reason to think that their arrangements are inadequate.


Is it not the duty of the Department to be perfectly well satisfied that these children are not undernourished and, if they are, to take necessary steps?


Will the hon. Gentleman call the attention of the Minister of Health to the high rents?


There is no reason to suppose that the arrangements are not being carried out. If the hon. Member studies the report carefully, he will see that most of the children in question are not of school age and the report does not state whether the children attending school are under-nourished or not.


Have officers of the Ministry been to the area to make inquiries direct?


The Board have received reports on the area. If the hon. Gentleman has any particular case to bring to my attention, I will look into it.


Are the reports that the hon. Gentleman refers to reports of officers of the Department?


The feeding of school children is a matter within the discretion of the local authorities. They have power to do it or not, and the Board have no statutory power in the matter.


Has there been any inquiry on the part of the Board's officers as to whether there is malnutrition among the children or not?


The Board keep an eye generally on the whole matter. They have no reason to think the arrangements are inadequate.

22. Mr. G. HALL

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education if he can give figures showing at the latest convenient date the number and percentage of school meals provided free and for payment, respectively; and the number of children fed by county councils, county borough councils, borough councils and urban district councils, giving each category separately?


As the answer involves a number of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate

Number of Meals provided by Local Education Authorities.
Month of October, 1932.
England and Wales. Free. For Payment. Total. Percentage Free. Percentage for Payment.
Counties (excluding London) 1,187,506 544,204 1,731,710 68.6 31.4
London 310,989 290,965 601,954 51.7 48.3
County Boroughs 1,806,154 358,750 2,164,904 83.4 16.6
Boroughs 274,573 18,171 292,744 93.8 6.2
Urban Districts 484,373 22,753 507,126 95.5 4.5
Totals 4,063,595 1,234,843 5,298,438 76.7 23.3