Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

THE FAMILY BATTLE; Minister under Fire as Help for Dads Unveiled

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

THE FAMILY BATTLE; Minister under Fire as Help for Dads Unveiled

Article excerpt

CHILDREN'S Secretary Ed Balls came under pressure over health visitor numbers today as the Tories and Labour embarked on a battle over family values.

The Cabinet Minister was challenged over the issue by Mumsnet co-founder Justine Roberts and GMTV presenter Kate Garraway as he unveiled new proposals from the Government to boost the role of fathers.

Mr Balls was read a message on GMTV from a woman in Leeds who gave birth to her first baby in September. She said: ''Get rid of the leaflets, employ more midwives and health visitors, they are in desperately short supply.'' Garraway, who had her second child last year, told Mr Balls: ''A friend of mine who gave birth to a premature baby recently says she still hasn't had a single home visit. She can't understand why, there is just a shortage of health visitors.'' Ms Roberts, co-founder of the website, said: ''I do think, from Mumsnet what we see is, what people really are crying out for, is some really excellent professional hands-on help in the early days after birth and at home in the first week, particularly in establishing breastfeeding. …

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