§ 1. Mr. Sparks
asked the Minister of Health in view of the urgency for increased production, if he will urge local authorities to provide the maximum possible day nursery facilities to enable mothers to take up employment; and it he will consider increasing the grant made to local authorities for this purpose.
§ The Minister of Health (Mr. Aneurin Bevan)
I am sending my hon. Friend a copy of Circular 221/45 in which I ask local authorities to give special attention to the demand for married women in essential industry in planning the future of their wartime nursery service. In reply to the second part of the Question, the grant now paid is already additional to the block grant, and I see no justification for increasing it.
§ Mr. Sparks
Is the Minister aware that in some areas there is a long waiting list of children for admission to day nurseries, and that some local authorities have gone to their financial limit to provide this accommodation?
§ Mr. Somerville Hastings
May I ask my right hon. Friend also to remember the considerable danger that exists in the association of large numbers of small children together under supervision which is not too complete?
§ Mr. Sidney Shephard
Would the Minister be prepared to make grants similar to those he makes to local authorities, to others who are prepared to provide nursery facilities on their premises?
§ Mr. Marples
Is the Minister aware that some local authorities have closed down day nurseries because this Government reduced the grant given to local authorities?
§ Sir Waldron Smithers
Would it not be better if the Minister dismissed half his civil servants and put them into productive employment and let the mothers stay at home and look after their homes and children?