HC Deb 23 July 1953 vol 518 cc582-3
34. Mr. Fernyhough

asked the Minister of Education what steps she proposes to take to see that children of five years of age and over for whom school places are not available receive the supply of free milk which would be available to them if they were attending school.

The Minister of Education (Miss Florence Horsbrugh)

Local education authorities have no power to provide milk for children who are not in attendance at school.

Mr. Fernyhough

Does not the right hon. Lady realise that in addition to the injustice of not being able to receive education, these children are denied other benefits? Does she not know that the children of some families in poor circumstances would get free dinners if school places were available for them? Does she really think that the complacent answer she has given is satisfactory, in view of the urgency of the matter?

Miss Horsbrugh

The next Question on the Order Paper, in the name of the hon. Gentleman, deals with the number of children unable to attend school because places are not available.

Mr. G. Thomas

Is the Minister aware that it would be possible for her to give the necessary powers to local authorities to deal with these children, and that the number of children concerned is not as important as the principle—or no more important?

Miss Horsbrugh

Local authorities have no power if the children are not at school. What the hon. Gentleman suggests would need legislation.