asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many preschool children are now attending playgroups; and how many playgroups there are in England and Wales.
At 31st March 1974 there were 18,562 groups of this type catering for 371,100 children.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many hospitals in England and Wales run playgroups or nursery classes for children of their employees; and if she will list them in the Official Report.
In June 1972, the most recent date for which information is available, 74 hospitals provided facilities of this type. I will write to my hon. Friend with details. I understand that my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales is conducting an inquiry into day care facilities for the children of hospital staff in Wales. Results of this inquiry will be sent to my hon. Friend as soon as they are available.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how much financial help she now gives each year to the playgroup movement in England and Wales.
In the current financial year my Department has agreed to grant up to £123,450. In addition, the Department of Education and Science is granting up to £16,400 and the Welsh Office up to £23,500.
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services how many firms in England and Wales provide playgroup or crèche facilities for the children up to 5 years of age of their employees; and how many places are so provided.
From returns relating to 31st March 1974 there were then 91 factory premises providing facilities of this type for 2,626 children.