HC Deb 21 June 1956 vol 554 cc1610-1
21. Mr. Glenvil Hall

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the Report issued by the Economic Research Council, a copy of which is in his possession, which shows a 32 per cent. increase in convictions for drunkenness among young people under 21 years of age; and what action he proposes to take to deal with this disquieting increase.

Major Lloyd-George

The figures in this Report do not cover the whole country. For England and Wales as a whole the percentage increase was 26. The provisional figure for convictions for drunkenness of young persons between 14 and 21 was 4,417. This is out of a total of 3,863,000 such persons. Whilst the number is small I entirely agree that any increase in drunkenness among young persons is disquieting.

I have been looking carefully into this question, but as I indicated in reply to a Question by the right hon. and learned Member for Rowley Regis and Tipton (Mr. A. Henderson) on 8th December last, there is no clearly apparent cause of the increase. The problem is not one to which any simple and clear-cut solution can be found, and not every social mischief can be cured by legislation. I shall however continue to keep a close watch on the situation, and if it appears that any special steps are called for or would be helpful, I shall not hesitate to take them.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

Is the right hon. and gallant Gentleman aware that that sympathetic reply will cause a great deal of satisfaction amongst those interested in this matter? Although, as the right hon. and gallant Gentleman has said, the figures are not complete, I believe that they cover enough areas to show that drunkenness among young girls is very much on the increase.