HC Deb 02 December 1968 vol 774 cc1027-8
52. Mr. Fisher

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many local health authorities are now giving a fully comprehensive family planning service, including facilities for unmarried girls; how many are giving a partial service; and how many are providing no service at all.

Mr. Ennals

Of the 169 authorities which have so far reported to my Department all but one report provision of a service, and about 80 per cent. report some expansion as a result of the 1967 Act. Sixty-five authorities specifically mention provision of some service for the unmarried.

Mr. Fisher

Those are disappointing figures a year after the passage of the Family Planning Act. Why has the whole comprehensive service not been more widely provided? Is it due to lack of interest or to lack of cash?

Mr. Ennals

There was an expansion of the service even before the 1967 Act was passed. The expansion of the service has been substantially accelerated as a result of the passing of the Act. It is true that there are some authorities which have made it clear that they have not expanded their services as far as they would wish, for financial reasons. There are a number of authorities which have made clear what their future plans are but have not carried them out in the present financial year.

Mr. David Steel

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the Secretary of State for Scotland has apparently told local authorities in a circular that, as an economy measure, they should not proceed with family planning clinics? Is not this one of the strangest economy measures of all?

Mr. Ennals

That is a question which must be addressed to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland. No such circular has been issued from my Ministry.