HC Deb 08 December 1970 vol 808 cc246-7
Q10. Mr. Ashley

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-ordination of Ministers whose policies affect poverty; and if he will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission into the question of poverty.

The Prime Minister

Yes, Sir; and I see no need for a Royal Commission.

Mr. Ashley

But since the Government's poverty policy is going backward to Speenhamland, should not the Prime Minister give a Royal Commission the opportunity of giving him considered advice before he pushes on with more divisive and doctrinaire measures?

The Prime Minister

No, Sir; I think that, through the family income supplement, we are the first Government to take direct action to help the poorer families. I believe this to be right. This is not divisive to society: it is a means by which the community helps those who are less well off.

Mr. Alfred Morris

Which Minister would have been responsible for referring the decision to cancel school milk in primary schools to the Committee on Medical Aspects of Food Policy? As the right hon. Gentleman knows, that very much affects the question of child poverty.

The Prime Minister

All the questions affecting child poverty are to be coordinated by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services. At the moment, of course, we are in some respects in the interim stage, until these responsibilities are taken over specifically by the Department on 1st January. But he is responsible for the co-ordination.