§ Mr. Hanley
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what has been the level of funding from his Department to the National Childbirth Trust for each year since 1979–80; and what is the planned level of support for the next year;
(2) why funding of the National Childbirth Trust has been restricted or delayed.
§ Mr. Wrigglesworth
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will maintain Government funding of the National Childbirth Trust at its present level; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Parry
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what was the Government funding to the National Childbirth Trust over the past five years;
(2) if there are any plans to increase the budget of the National Childbirth Trust in the next and future financial years.
(3) if he will make a statement on the financial position of the National Childbirth Trust details of which have been sent to him by the hon. Member for Liverpool, Riverside;
(3) why the funding of the National Childbirth Trust under section 64 of the Health Services and Public Health Act 1968 is being restricted and delayed by his Department.
§ Mr. John Patten
The National Childbirth Trust has received grants from the Department as follows:
£ per annum 1977–1980 10,000 1981–1983 15,000
The grants were for calendar years, and the trust's last grant expired on 31 December 1983. We received in August 1983 details of the trust's financial position, its plans for expansion, and a related request for increased financial support from the Department. Consideration of that request has not been unnecessarily delayed. The increase asked for is substantial, and before taking firm decisions on the level of grant for 1984–85 and subsequent years, we have had to review the trust's application in the light of the many other requests for grants which we have received or anticipate, and to determine priorities as appropriate. That review is still under way but we hope to be able to announce our decision on the grant application shortly.
We are aware of the particular financial difficulties the Trust currently has to resolve and understand the concern felt by the trust's many supporters. Because of the valuable work undertaken by the Trust we have agreed, therefore, pending the outcome of our review to continue to fund the trust up to 31 December 1984 at minimum at the level of last year's grant.