HC Deb 12 February 1968 vol 758 cc948-9
35. Mr. Judd

asked the First Secretary of State whether he will initiate comprehensive round table conferences at the national and local level concerning the rôle of voluntary social services in the Welfare State.

The First Secretary of State (Mr. Michael Stewart)

I am anxious to encourage the fullest possible use of the voluntary social services, in co-operation with the statutory services, and will bear my hon. Friend's suggestion in mind.

Mr. Judd

Would my right hon. Friend not agree that there will always be a place for the most progressive sort of voluntary agency, working in close collaboration with the statutory services? Would he not further agree that it is high time that the Government, in thinking about the future, consulted fully with the voluntary bodies both at national and local level?

Mr. Stewart

I would entirely agree with the first part of what my hon. Friend has said. As to consultation, we are already engaged in that. I am not sure that a round-table conference is necessarily the wisest way of doing it, but I am engaged in a number of consultations with voluntary bodies.

Sir Knox Cunningham

Have not the voluntary services a very important part to play in modern Britain, and will the right hon. Gentleman give every encouragement to those people who are prepared to give their services voluntarily?

Mr. Stewart

Yes. I thought that I had made that clear in my Answer to my hon. Friend, but I am glad to repeat it.