30 MAY 1969, Page 24

The intent of the letter


From Lieutenant-Colonel H. R. Pelly, S. L. Muhanii, Richard West, Dr Israel Shahak. the Rev Stanley F. Clarke, P J. Wilde, Geoffrey May, John Kirkaldy, Miss S. E. Gough, J. A. Nelder, Kenneth M. McCracken, Peter Fleet- wood-Hesketh, Philip Larkin, Anthony Cary & Nicholas Ormerod, Frederick G. Rich ford. Campbell Kay, Richard G. Adams, Dominic Gill, W. H. Beale & D. R. Jowitt.

Sir : Auberon Waugh (16 May) quotes Mr Crossman, Secretary of State for Social Services. as saying that he would not like to make it mandatory for local authorities to set up family planning clinics as it would be unfair to do so unless money were available.

At the annual conference of the Family Planning Association on 26 June 1968 Mr Edwin Brooks, MP, stated that pressures of population increase have now made the pro- vision of birth-control services a matter of extreme urgency. The savings such services effect are measurable in terms of hard cash as well as individual misery. Prompt-and effec- tive action now to provide comprehensive family planning services could save Britain hundreds, perhaps thousands - of millions of pounds each year. He attacked local health authorities for their lack of foresight in budget- ing for birth-control realistically; demolished the specious financial and 'moral' arguments- used by some local authorities ta justify their failure to implement the Family Planning Act and condemned the timidity and muddled thinking which still obstruct the development of local authority family planning .services. . At the same conference Caspar Brook. director of the FPA, made the following points: it would cost £25 million a year to prevent an estimated 250,000 unwanted pregnancies yearly by making contraceptive advice and supplies- freely. available. But the bill paid by the tax and rate payer for these unplanned pregnancies each year is more than four times that sum. Taking into account hospital and maternity services, education and child care services (even ignoring the possible costs of those who will be a burden on society later in life), the annual bill paid by the community is at least £100 million. Each £1 invested in family planning services saves at least £4 for other purposes. Any local health authority which does not implement the National Health Service (Family Planning) Act 1967 to the fullest possible extent is grossly wasting its

rate-payers' money. In view of these cogent and convincing facts given by recognised authorities on the subject Mr Crossman's re- marks seem somewhat inadequate.

Novar Edgar Road, Winchester .. R. Pelly