§ 15. Miss RATHBONE
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he will consider with- 2125 drawing the restriction placed by Circular 1437 upon the freedom of local authorities to give milk or meals free to children on account of their parents' poverty without first requiring a medical inspection, in view of the dissatisfaction it has aroused and of the acknowledged difficulty of detecting the early signs of malnutrition?
§ The PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY to the BOARD of EDUCATION (Mr. Ramsbotham)
My Noble Friend is not prepared to withdraw the Circular. He is satisfied that medical selection on the lines indicated in the Circular affords the best means of securing that those children who need food or milk in fact get it, and that under any system other than that of medical selection there is a danger of overlooking children who require attention. He attaches the highest importance to a close study of defective nutrition and its treatment, and he regards it as in every way advantageous that this part of the work of the school medical service should be closely linked with the arrangements for the provision of meals and milk.
§ Miss RATHBONE
Is the hon. Member aware that the organ of the local education authorities has condemned this restriction on their freedom, and are not local authorities the best judges of what should be done in this matter?
§ Mr. RHYS DAVIES
Is it not much better to prevent children becoming ill rather than to deal with them after they are ill?