Orders of the Day — Day Nurseries

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 12th June 1947.

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Photo of Mr George Drayson Mr George Drayson , Skipton 12:00 am, 12th June 1947

The House is indebted to my hon. Friend the Member for Newark (Mr. Shephard) for raising this subject, which has a bearing upon the production problem with which the Government are now confronted. I had not intended to intervene in the Debate, but it happens that yesterday I received a letter from a branch of the Amalgamated Engineering Union, deploring the fact that a day nursery in the town was being closed down. My first reaction was to write to the local authority before I approached the Minister, but as we now have an opportunity to discuss day nurseries, I will bring the matter to the notice of the Minister, and inform him that this branch of the A.E.U. has written to me in protest. The town in question has a large number of operatives engaged in the textile industry. It is an essential industry employing a large number of women. Many of us would much prefer that married women with children should remain in their homes, but this is becoming very difficult at the present time. I ask the Government to consider, if local authorities have difficulty in meeting out of the rates expenses incurred in running day nurseries, whether some assistance can be given. The North of England suffered considerably during the recent fuel crisis in loss of wages, owing to the industrial shutdown. The Government might see their way to keeping the nurseries open. I have taken the opportunity to inform the Minister that the A.E.U. is particularly interested in this subject. I hope he will have some announcement to make and that he will be prepared to consider assisting local authorities who feel they cannot continue the expense of day nurseries.