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Evacuated Children (Parents' Visits)

Volume 357: debated on Thursday 22 February 1940

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79.

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the new provisional evacuation scheme, he will consider increasing the facilities for parents to visit their children; and whether, as an inducement, he will arrange that two free monthly travelling passes be granted to parents or guardians of children evacuated now or in the future?

I have no evidence to suggest that the special facilities already provided are not generally adequate. Parents in receipt of unemployment assistance who cannot afford the specially reduced fares available under these arrangements may apply for special assistance to enable them to visit their children, and I do not think that any further payment from Exchequer funds would be justified at a time calling for every possible economy in the national expenditure. For visits to sick children parents in need can, of course, obtain help at any time from the evacuating authority at the expense of the Exchequer.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman realise that one of the biggest factors in marring the success of evacuation schemes may be the parents' desire to see their children more frequently than they do, and, in the circumstances will he reconsider the decision in regard to this matter?

The hon. Member is speaking of the future scheme which has not yet come into operation. It will be necessary to review the considerations of that scheme when we come a little nearer to the actual event.

Is it not very upsetting to the children to be frequently visited as suggested?