§ 30. Mr. Piratin
asked the Minister of Health if he will instruct local welfare authorities to limit the charge for the attendance of children at day nurseries to Is. per day, as is the practice, until Circular 221/45 comes into operation.
§ Mr. Piratin
Is the Minister aware that if a local authority desire in any way to sabotage or boycott this order, all they have to do is to put up the rate to 5s. a day and no mother will place her child in a nursery, and industry will suffer?
§ Mr. Shurmer
Is the Minister aware that already, in the City of Birmingham, these rates are going up from 6s. to 18s. per week, which will mean a prohibition on In omen proposing to go to work?
§ 31. Mr. Piratin
asked the Minister of Health, whether he is aware that the Birmingham City Council proposes to charge 3s. per day for attendance at its day nurseries; and, as this will act as a deterrent to women working in industry, 562 what steps he will take to ensure a reduced charge.
§ Mr. Piratin
Is not the Minister avoiding his responsibilities in this respect by suggesting that local authorities can do exactly as they please, whereas, if they do as they please, we have the case of Birmingham, where they raised the charge by 3s. a day?
§ Mr. Bevan
The answer is that local authorities are receiving a 54 per cent. grant for this service, and they are also receiving from the Ministry of Health a very substantial block grant towards local government services. The local authorities, therefore, have no need to charge exorbitant fees for this service, but it surely is impracticable for the Ministry of Health to make local authorities merely passive instruments of the central Government's directions.
§ Mr. Martin Lindsay
Is the Minister aware that hon. Members from Birmingham are quite capable of looking after the problems of their city and do not require any assistance from the hon. Member for Mile End (Mr. Piratin)?