§ SIR MICHAEL HICKS-BEACH
said, he wished to ask the President of the Poor Law Board, Whether the Returns show an increase of Vagrancy in the Country during the past six months; and whether, if such increase continues, he will undertake to attempt legislation on the subject next Session: and, whether, in undertaking such legislation, he will consider the proposal to transfer the care of Vagrants from the Poor Law Authorities to the Police, and the cost 157 of their maintenance to the County or Borough Rate?
§ MR. GOSCHEN
said, in reply, that the Returns of Vagrancy made to the Poor Law Board were half-yearly Returns, made up to the 1st of January and the 1st of July. The Return for July in the present year had not yet been received. It appeared, by the Return of the 1st of January, 1868, the number of vagrants relieved was 6,129; by the Return of the 1st of July, 7,946; and by the Return of the 1st of January, 1869, 7,020. These Returns showed a great increase in the number of vagrants relieved in the summer of last year, as compared with those applying for relief in January of the same year. On the other hand, the Return for last January showed a decrease of 926, as compared with the preceding July. With regard to legislation, he could state that that subject would be considered irrespective of the question whether or not there had been any increase in vagrancy; and the subject of the transfer of the care of vagrants from the Poor Law authorities to the police was under the consideration of the Home Secretary and himself.