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Volume 885: debated on Thursday 30 January 1975

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asked the Prime Minister whether he is satisfied with the co-ordination between Ministers responsible for carrying out Government responsibilities in respect of population trends.

The Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
(Mr. Edward Short)

I have been asked to reply.

Yes, Sir.

As the birth rate has steadily fallen from 18·8 per thousand in 1964 to 13·9 per thousand in 1973, and in view of the importance of this trend for the work of most Government Departments, may I ask what research is being undertaken by the Government into the factors now influencing the average size of families in this country?

My hon. Friend is quite correct. The increase in the growth of population has fallen in each of the past eight years, but the population is now almost stable. The Office of Population Censuses and Surveys is stepping up its research effort into population trends, aimed particularly at increasing knowledge and understanding about the factors influencing child-bearing.