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?
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.
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.
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?