HC Deb 27 April 1944 vol 399 cc923-4
38. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the requirement that one of the parents shall attend personally at the registrar's office to regis- ter a birth causes hardship when the mother is prevented by illness and the father by military duties from attending, since the child's food and clothing coupons are not obtainable until the birth is registered and if he will take steps to mitigate this hardship.

Mr. Willink

As I said in my reply on 18th January last to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg), it is very desirable that, wherever possible, one of the parents should be the informant in order that correct information may be obtained, both for insertion in the Birth Register and for the purposes of the Population (Statistics) Act, 1938. But I fully recognise the difficulties of present-day circumstances. Registration officers were instructed in a circular issued last June that some other person, duly qualified in one of the capacities named in the Births and Deaths Registration Act, 1874, may be accepted as informant, where hardship would be caused by insisting on a parent's attendance.

Mr. Driberg

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that a baby born four weeks ago to the wife of a squadron leader in the R.A.F. is still unregistered because the registrar persistently refuses to accept registration from the wife's sister? Will he' renew his instructions to registrars?

Mr. Willink

I have written to my hon. Friend on that subject. If the squadron leader was stationed in this country, he could have registered the child at his own station. There are, also, three classes of people other than the parents who can register in lieu of the parents. I shall certainly look into the case which my hon. Friend has mentioned.

Mr. Sorensen

Would it not be possible to instruct the registrar, in case of urgency, to attend at the home of the mother?