§ 29. Mr. Dewar
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he intends to authorise the supply of contraceptive advice and appliances on social grounds by local authorities under Section 15 of the Health Services and Public Health Act, 1968.
53. Earl of Dalkeith
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will now give local authorities the necessary instructions to bring Section 15 of the Health Services and Public Health Act, 1968, into force.
§ Mr. Dewar
Will not the Secretary of State accept that it is a thoroughly unsatisfactory situation in which local authorities cannot give contraceptive advice on social grounds when English authorities can? Will he confirm that this restriction is purely a matter of finance and will he give an estimate of what public expenditure is being saved by this rather petty action?
§ Mr. Ross
I entirely agree that we should like to be able to go ahead with this. It is a matter of finance. I cannot give a figure, but I do not suppose that it would be all that much. However, we have not had any representations from any Scottish local authority on this subject. It may be that each authority has its own ideas of priorities.
Earl of Dalkeith
If it is cost which is holding back the Secretary of State, does he not agree that the cost of producing babies who may arrive by accident must be very much higher than the cost of advice and services rendered. in other words, that prevention of labour would be better than cure?
§ Mr. David Steel
In his circular the Secretary of State described the lack of provision of birth control facilities as an economy measure. Is that not the strangest economy measure of all?