HC Deb 06 May 1943 vol 389 cc283-4
18. Mr. Hannah

asked the Minister of Health whether he will consider setting up a small expert commission to investigate the causes of the recent rise in the birthrate, especially whether or not it is likely to be permanent and its bearing on postwar organisation, especially in connection with the Beveridge Report?

Mr. E. Brown

I doubt whether long-range conclusions of any value could be reached with respect to post-war birth rates on the basis of the war-time birth rate movements under the abnormal war conditions; and I do not think that any useful purpose would be served by the appointment, in present circumstances, of the commission suggested by my hon. Friend.

Mr. Hannah

Is it not necessary to have careful inquiry into the trend of population before we can in any circumstances adopt the Beveridge Report?

Mr. Brown

Any inquiry would need to be over such a period and on such a basis that it dealt not with abnormal war conditions alone but with the general trend.

Miss Rathbone

Are not the facts of the trend of population perfectly well known to economic experts, so that the appointment of a committee would be time-wasting?

Mr. Brown

My hon. Friend will realise that feelings about facts sometimes differ.