Population

Oral Answers to Questions — Social Services – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 8th August 1972.

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Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell 12:00 am, 8th August 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services in which year, on current trends, the population of the United Kingdom will begin to fall; and in which year it will fall below replacement rate.

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

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.

Photo of Mr John Biggs-Davison Mr John Biggs-Davison , Chigwell

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?

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

My hon. Friend and I are together responsible for no fewer than 10 children, but questions on population policy are for my right hon. Friend the Lord President of the Council.

Photo of Dr Shirley Summerskill Dr Shirley Summerskill , Halifax

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?

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

I hope to be in a position to make a statement on the review of the family planning services later this year.

Photo of Mr John Stokes Mr John Stokes , Oldbury and Halesowen

Is my right hon. Friend not aware that the best form of population control which this country requires and wants is strict control of immigration?

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

I must repeat that all questions on such subjects are not for me.

Photo of Mr John Pardoe Mr John Pardoe , North Cornwall

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.

Photo of Sir Keith Joseph Sir Keith Joseph , Leeds North East

No such inquiries have been made.