HC Deb 18 June 1942 vol 380 cc1664-5
26 Mr. Ellis Smith

asked the Minister of Health (1) whether he can make a statement on the policy that is to be followed in looking after the care of young children of mothers who have, or will, respond to the nation's need;

(2) the number of day nurseries now being used, the number to be opened, and give in the OFFICIAL REPORT the numbers in the chief centres in the country; and is he satisfied with the progress made in the provision of accommodation and service for the children;

(3) whether he is aware of the mothers' appreciation of the contribution to the war effort and the success of the day nurseries in Stoke-on-Trent; and will he see that provision is made for as many as are required in the area as soon as possible and that nothing shall be allowed to hold up the provision of the maximum number of nurseries required?

The Minister of Health (Mr. Ernest Brown)

The policy of the Government was indicated in the statements made in the House on 5th February and 5th March and in the circulars sent to local authorities, copies of which I will send to my hon. Friend. The number of day nurseries in operation at the end of May was 540, approved but not yet in operation 576 and in an earlier stage of preparation 216, making a total at all stages of 1,332. As indicated in the Reply which I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Mrs. Adamson) on 12th February it would not be in the public interest to publish the figures for individual districts but I will send a list to my hon. Friend. As the figures indicate, substantial progress has been made and I am well aware of the appreciation of the work which has been done at Stoke on this matter. So far as I am aware, development is restricted only by difficulties as to labour and materials which are inherent in present conditions.

Mr. Smith

As in view of our war needs the provision of these schools and homes is becoming one of -increasing urgency, could the Minister give an undertaking that he will expedite their provision and see that nothing but the best equipment will be put in them?

Mr. Brown

That has been my aim from the beginning. The moment the Ministry of Labour inform us of the needs of a particular area steps are taken to do our best to meet them.