(Class 7.)

Part of Orders of the Day — Ministry of Health. – in the House of Commons at on 9 March 1920.

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Photo of Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy Commander Hon. Joseph Kenworthy , Kingston upon Hull Central

We are asked to vote here a sum of £130,000 for child welfare, and I am certain that there is no member of the Committee who will not vote that with great alacrity. But, while voting this money, I think the right hon. Gentleman should put his own house in order. I refer to the boards of guardians about the country. I should like to refer briefly to a ease in my own county of Yorkshire which I think he will remember, that of the employés of the board of guardians of a certain parish in Yorkshire, who were dismissed because they had children. They were told that the children were an "encumbrance." I think there were two cases, and that the board of guardians said they were not able to keep them on in their quarters if they had children, and that either they or the children must leave. That is a scandalous state of affairs, and I am certain that there is no hon. Member who will approve of that for a moment. The right hon. Gentleman, the Minister of Health, declared, in reply to questions which were put to him in this House, that the matter was really outside his jurisdiction, that he could not bring pressure to bear on boards of guardians, but that, of course, he would represent the views of hon. Members. I submit that we want something a little better than that. If the right hon. Gentleman has not power to deal with a case of that sort, it is his duty to come to this House for such power. Is it the idea that we should expend £130,000 on child welfare, while the very board of guardians themselves can discourage the bringing up of healthy children by persecuting people in this way?