HC Deb 15 May 1947 vol 437 cc1686-7
18. Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

asked the Minister of Health whether he is satisfied that the number of day nurseries provided by local authorities is adequate to meet the needs of all the women who respond to the Government's recent appeal to enter industry.

Mr. Bevan

I believe that, in general, local authorities are providing as many day nurseries, nursery schools and nursery classes as existing resources allow.

Mr. Lindsay

Is my right hon. Friend aware that throughout the country there are springing up private nurseries for which a charge of over £1 a week is being made, and also nurseries in factories, none of which can be inspected or entered by representatives of his Department? Can he give some greater stimulus to local authorities in this matter, or consider a revision of the percentage grant?

Mr. Bevan

I take the view that the existing grant is adequate to stimulate local authorities to do their duty in this respect. However, when the new proposals are laid before Parliament, perhaps they will disclose further inducements, not in this particular respect but as to the general financial position of local authorities.

Mrs. Leah Manning

In view of the fact that nurseries attached to factories have certain advantages in that mothers do not have to make two journeys, would my right hon. Friend undertake to see that those nurseries are inspected?

Mr. Bevan

Offhand, I should imagine that nurseries in factories would be inspected by the factory inspectors if they are part of the factory premises. However, I will look into the point.

Mr. Sparks

Is my right hon. Friend aware that some local authorities are charging extortionate prices for accommodating children in some of these day nurseries? Is this not a serious deterrent to women to go into industry, and will he ensure that where extortionate prices are charged appropriate action will be taken?

Mr. Bevan

Where unreasonable prices are being charged it is for the citizens in the area concerned to take action with their local authorities. After all, local authorities are part of the British Constitution.

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