HC Deb 11 December 1967 vol 756 c14
34. Miss Lestor

asked the Minister of Health if he will conduct a public inquiry into the needs of and provision for the pre-school child.

Mr. Snow

I would refer my hon. Friend to my reply to her Question on 23rd October.—[Vol. 751, c. 1336–7.]

Miss Lestor

While bearing in mind that my right hon. Friend has already proposed Amendments to the Nursery and Childminders Act which will help to tighten up some of the existing loopholes, will he bear in mind and comment upon the fact that, if his proposals are successful, the number of places providing child-minding facilities will be reduced and that, until a public inquiry is held to discover the number required, it will be impossible to legislate for this group of people?

Mr. Snow

That is a very important point. There was a great deal of information in the Yudkin Report which will enable us to assess the problem as it develops.

Mr. J. E. B. Hill

Is the Minister aware that this is much more than a question of numbers, and that it is clear that the social, emotional and other needs of the pre-school child are not sufficiently catered for and perhaps not sufficiently realised? Therefore, in my view and, I hope, that of the Minister, the Yudkin Report, supported by numerous child welfare societies, has made out an overwhelming case for a Government inquiry.

Mr. Snow

I am not certain that further inquiries are necessary. We have a volume of information at our disposal. One interesting point is that, within the Department, we are reviewing urgently the research already carried out into the effects of the separation of children from their mothers during the working day. It is not so much a lack of information as the need for still further co-ordination of the eventual effort.

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