HC Deb 01 February 1945 vol 407 cc1618-9
35. Sir W. Smithers

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether, in view of the recent disclosures, he will call for a Report on conditions prevailing in children's homes under the administration of local authorities; and will he arrange that those who make the inquiries are not members of local authorities and that they will include at least one member of the medical profession.

Mr. H. Morrison

The homes referred to in this Question will come within the scope of the Committee which is being set up jointly by the Minister of Health, the Minister of Education and myself. I have noted my hon. Friend's views about the composition of the Committee, but I cannot accept his implication that no member of any local authority can be relied on to form a sound judgment on this matter.

Sir W. Smithers

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the public conscience is seriously perturbed about recent revelations and the inefficiency of municipally and State controlled homes?

Mr. Morrison

My hon. Friend should not introduce prejudices of that kind. There are plenty of other homes that will have to be investigated.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is growing public anxiety about the whole treatment of orphan children, not only in State and municipal homes, but all round, and will he do his best to allay this anxiety by holding a proper public inquiry?

Mr. Morrison

That is exactly why the committee is being appointed.

Earl Winterton

Will my right hon. Friend make it clear, so that there shall be no uncertainty about the question, that voluntary authorities will also be investigated; and is he aware that many of us, without any political feeling in the matter, are seriously concerned about the treatment of children in both types of homes?

Mr. Morrison

I am entirely in agreement with the spirit of what my Noble Friend says. The inquiry will cover all types of homes.