HC Deb 20 October 1969 vol 788 cc749-50
19. Mr. Fisher

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will make a large Government grant available to the Family Planning Association, with a view to extending advice on contraception more widely throughout all sections of the community.

Mr. Crossman

As I told the House in reply to a Question from the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Huntingdon (Sir D. Renton) on 19th May last, I have, with the hon. Member's object in mind, made a grant of £20,000 a year for five years to the Association for the training of doctors and others.—[Vol. 784, c. 30–1.]

Mr. Fisher

I do not call that a very large grant. On the principle of prevention being better than cure, would it not be wise and, indeed, less expensive to spend more money in giving advice on contraception with a view to spending less money on abortions?

Mr. Crossman

I am surprised that the hon. Gentleman does not think that it is a substantial grant. Twenty thousand pounds a year for five years to a relatively small organisation is something which it could reasonably spend in largely and rapidly expanding its training system. I agree in principle with what the hon. Member has said.

Mr. Lubbock

Why not make the Family Planning Act mandatory instead of discretionary.

Mr. Crossman

That is something which, clearly, I should very much like to do, but it is no good making the Act mandatory upon local authorities unless one simultaneously supplies them with sufficient money to implement it. I will not conceal from the hon. Member that the present state of the rate support grant would make it somewhat difficult to bring it into effect.