HC Deb 13 December 1937 vol 330 cc804-5
40. Sir F. Acland

asked the Minister of Labour whether, in view of the policy laid down by the Ministry of Health that a baby should be breast fed for as long as possible and of the fact that, under the practice of his Department, no woman can receive unemployment benefit while her baby is being so fed, he will say what steps he is taking to amend this practice?

The Minister of Labour (Mr. Ernest Brown)

It is not the case that unemployment benefit is never payable in such cases. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a decision by the Umpire which explains the conditions under which benefit may be drawn.

Sir F. Acland

Does that mean that normally benefit is not payable while the mother is feeding her child in what I understand to be the proper as well as the natural manner, or that benefit is normally payable while she is doing that?

Mr. Brown

After the right hon. Gentleman has considered the Umpire's decision, which goes back to 1923, perhaps he will consider whether he desires to pursue the matter further.

Mr. Logan

Does the Minister suggest that it would be better for mothers to give their children the bottle instead of letting them have the best milk that a child can have?

Mr. Brown

Perhaps the hon. Member also would like to look at the Umpire's decision.

Mr. Thorne

Will the Minister bear in mind that many mothers cannot give breast feeding to their children on account of being badly fed themselves?

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