HC Deb 09 December 1963 vol 686 cc2-4
4. Mrs. Slater

asked the Minister of Health what steps are being taken to ensure that there are enough public health inspectors to deal with the work involved in slum clearance and multi-occupied houses.

9. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Minister of Health what steps he intends to take to secure the trained public health inspectors needed to cope with the additional work involved for them in the Government's proposals for installing baths, inside water closets, and hot water in houses, and for controlling houses in multiple occupation.

Mr. Braine

The Public Health Inspectors' Education Board is responsible for keeping the level of recruitment under review, and my right hon. Friend is in touch with it on this subject, after consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government.

Mrs. Slater

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that sort of Answer does not find the public health inspectors which every local authority needs? The Minister of Housing and Local Government has made great play about the attack on slum clearance, on multi-occupied houses and other factors in the housing programme, but local authorities cannot get public health inspectors to start to do this work in addition to all the work they do under the Ministry of Health. To give an instance, out of a complement of 33 we are 11 short in my constituency and cannot get inspectors even though we train them. Does not the hon. Gentleman think that this subject needs a complete review of the salaries paid to these people if we are to attract them into this difficult and, on many occasions, not very pleasant occupation?

Mr. Braine

The question of remuneration is quite another matter. Perhaps the hon. Lady will put a Question on the Order Paper about that. As to a review, as I have said, the Board has been asked to look at this matter and to consider methods by which the number of inspectors in training might be increased and to make a new assessment of the possible future intake required. That is the only step which can be taken to meet the hon. Lady's suggestion.

Mr. Allaun

Surely the hon. Gentleman must be aware of the serious discontent over salaries in this profession? What does he propose to do about it? Is he aware that, in spite of this fact, public health inspectors, with great public spirit, are considering proposals for accepting technical assistance to increase the amount of work they can do? Will he look at these two proposals?

Mr. Braine

I cannot discuss the question of remuneration. The other considerations raised by the hon. Member are for the Board. The Board has been asked to consider methods by which this shortage can be remedied, and I have no reason to believe that it will be dilatory in the task.

Mr. G. Thomas

Can the hon. Gentleman give some idea how long we shall have to wait for this statement about increased recruitment? The City of Cardiff is under-staffed in this respect. Is he further aware that it is impossible for public health inspectors to bring to bear the pressure which they ought to bring on property owners who are not keeping their property in a fit and proper condition for the simple reason that we have not numbers enough to go round?

Mr. Braine

My right hon. Friend has no precise information about the shortages, but I am aware that they exist in certain areas. My answer to the hon. Gentleman's first question is "Not without notice."