War-time Nurseries, Somerset

Oral Answers to Questions — Public Health – in the House of Commons on 26th November 1942.

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Photo of Mrs Mavis Tate Mrs Mavis Tate , Frome

asked the Minister of Health (1) whether he will state the cost of erecting and equipping the war-time nursery at Martock, Somerset; the number of staff employed in this nursery; the number of children attending it daily; and the estimated weekly cost of the upkeep of the nursery;

(2) whether he will state the cost of erecting and equipping the wartime nursery of Wells, Somerset; the estimated weekly cost of the upkeep; the number of staff employed in this nursery; and the number of children attending it daily?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

The Martock nursery was set up in existing premises, which cost £472 to adapt. The staff numbers four. The accommodation is for 50 children. The nursery was opened only at the end of September and in the latest return there were only eight children on the books. Steps are being taken to make the provision more widely known among mothers who may wish to enter employment. The nursery at the Recreation Ground, Wells, is in a pre-fabricated hut supplied by the Ministry of Works and Planning. The cost of the shell was about £350, and the cost of site preparation, erection and laying-on of services was £1,000. The staff numbers six, and there are at present 28 children on the books. In each case equipment is provided centrally and costs about £10 a place. The estimated weekly cost of upkeep is approximately £1 a week per child.

Photo of Mrs Mavis Tate Mrs Mavis Tate , Frome

Is the Minister aware that the general feeling in Somerset is that attendance at these nursery centres might be better if the hours at which they open and the hours at which they close were altered to conform to the needs of the women in the war factories?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

It is laid down quite clearly that the hours of opening and closing should conform with the hours at the war factories, and if the hon. Member can tell us of any cases where that is not so, we will look into them.

Photo of Mr Herbert Williams Mr Herbert Williams , Croydon South

Can the hon. Lady explain why it costs twice as much to keep a child in a nursery for half a day as it costs a mother to keep the child at home and look after it for the whole day?

Photo of Dame Florence Horsbrugh Dame Florence Horsbrugh , Dundee

A mother's work at home is given free, but people have to be paid to take the place of mothers in looking after the children.