HC Deb 14 May 1957 vol 570 cc193-4
11. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he is aware that the birth rates for Coatbridge and Dumbarton burghs are the highest in Scotland for 1956, being 25 per 1,000 live births, but that the infant mortality rate for Coat-bridge is 51 per 1,000 live births, whereas the rate is 18 only for Dumbarton burgh; and if he will make a statement on this disparity.

Mrs. Mann

On a point of order. May I point out that the figures are for the fourth quarter of 1956, and that the mistake is mine?

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. J. Nixon Browne)

I agree that the rates referred to by the hon. Member relate only to the last quarter of 1956. For the whole year 1956, the birth rates per thousand population were 24 in Coatbridge and 26 in Dumbarton. The infant mortality rates per thousand live births for 1956 were 34 in Coatbridge and 22 in Dumbarton. Over the five years 1952–56 the average rates were 36 in Coatbridge and 35 in Dumbarton; these figures over the longer period show no significant disparity.

Mrs. Mann

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the general mortality rate is 30, and that if he dips back as far back as 1952 he will find that the progress out-with Coatbridge is very much greater, and that there is no progress here at all? Will he not agree that even one infant death is a tragically high figure, and would he not inquire into the matter?

Mr. Browne

The actual number of deaths is too small for conclusions to be drawn from quarterly statistics. For example, in the second quarter of 1956, the position was reversed, and there were four infant deaths in Coatbridge, representing 13 per 1,000, and 5 in Dumbarton, representing 27 per 1,000 of live births.

12. Mrs. Mann

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland the present average infant mortality rate for Scotland and the West of Scotland, respectively.

Mr. J. N. Browne

The infant mortality rates for Scotland and the West of Scotland for 1956 were respectively 29 and 32 per 1,000 live births.