HC Deb 13 July 1971 vol 821 c201
19. Mr. Peter Archer

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if, pending the final proposals of the Departmental Committee on Adoption, he will encourage local authorities to make more use of their present powers under Section 2 of the Children Act, 1948.

Mr. Alison

I am not clear how Section 2 could appropriately be used more widely in these distressing situations. I am sure that the right course is to await the Departmental Committee's final proposals.

Mr. Archer

I appreciate the argument for awaiting the Departmental Committee's report before introducing amending legislation, but does not the hon. Gentleman realise that heartbreak could be ameliorated in many cases if local authorities were a little more robust in assuming parental powers, and will he not give them just a little encouragement?

Mr. Alison

I admit that there is a genuine difference of opinion on whether the powers are adequate. But I take the hon. and learned Gentleman's point that a more robust use of existing powers by local authorities might solve a lot of the problems which we face.