I am advised by the Registrar-General that both current numbers of births and recent evidence about future intentions on family size indicate fertility levels above replacement rate. On this basis, projections of the size of the population show an upward trend over the medium and longer term.
Has not the birth rate already begun to decline? Confessing some interest in the matter as one who may be called the anti-social father of six, may I ask my right hon. Friend for an assurance that his Department will not lend itself to the fashionable death-wish propaganda against the family of more than two children, and also that such families will not be discriminated against in the future through withholding social benefits?
Will the right hon. Gentleman take this opportunity to tell the House what stage has been reached in the Government's review of the family planning services? In view of the proposed reorganisation and integration of the National Health Service, will he make a statement about the rôle which the family planning services will play in the overall structure?
I recognise that responsibility for population policy is not within the right hon. Gentleman's orbit, but may I ask whether his Department has carried out any investigation into what would be the likely effect on the size of families if we were to limit family and tax allowances to the first two or three children.