§ 63. Mr. ALDEN
asked the President of the Local Government Board to state the latest figures as regards infant mortality in England and Wales; and also the highest and lowest infant mortality rates for towns of over 50,000; and whether he is able to furnish the House with figures showing the effect of recent legislation and administration upon the rate of infant mortality?
§ The PRESIDENT of the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. Burns)
The infant mortality rate in England and Wales in 1912 was 95 per 1,000 births. As regards the second part of the question, I will send my hon. Friend the figures as regards a number of towns. I am afraid it is not practicable to apportion in any exact manner the effect of recent changes in legislation or adminstration on the infant mortality rate, but as my hon. Friend is aware, this rate has exhibited a marked tendency to fall during the last eight years. I may add that a Report on the subject of infant mortality in now being prepared by the medical officer of the Local Government Board, and that I hope shortly to present this.
§ Mr. WEDGWOOD
Does my right hon. Friend think that this reduction in mortality is due to inspectors or to a change in public opinion?
§ Mr. OUTHWAITE
Is it not a fact that infant mortality is determined by the wage conditions in particular localities, and has there been any legislation to meet that?
§ Mr. BURNS
I think the remarkable diminution in infant mortality during the last ten years is due to the fact that the attention of local authorities, doctors, and public opinion generally, has concentrated upon many causes which previously were ignored with regard to infant feeding after birth, and the condition of the mother before the child was born.