HC Deb 22 April 1879 vol 245 cc835-7

asked Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Whether his attention has been called to the great proportional disparity which exists between the grants made to England, Ireland, and Scotland for medical officers and medical purposes under the Poor Law and Public Health Acts; for schoolmasters and schoolmistresses in Workhouse schools; for Poor Law auditors and for public vaccinators; the several amounts for these purposes, according to the Estimates for the current year, being for England £284,849; for Ireland £106,862; and for Scotland £10,200; whether his attention has been called to the Return, No. 453 of 1877, showing that the sums paid into the National Exchequer for that year were for England £51,101,890; for Ireland £6,664,724; and for Scotland £7,757,213; and, whether he will, in the Poor Law (Scotland) Bill now before the House, provide that Scotland shall be placed on a footing of proportional equality with England and Ireland, either according to the difference in the population of each country, or to the difference in the revenue severally contributed by them to the National Exchequer?


I really think that a Question of this kind would be far better brought forward on the discussion of the Estimates, or in connection with the Bill to which the hon. Member has referred. It is quite impossible, in answering a Question, to go into all the matters that have been mentioned. I may say generally, however, in regard to medical officers and relief, that the Treasury promised some time ago to put the Scotch medical officers and relief in the Estimates upon the same footing as in England and Ireland as soon as the appointment of medical officers is made compulsory in Scotland, and placed on the same footing as in England. The hon. Gentleman is aware that that object is intended to be effected by the Bill, which is now in the hands of hon. Members, for amending the Scotch Poor Law. When that is done, the Estimates will be accommodated to the new state of things. With regard to schoolmasters and schoolmistresses in workhouse schools, it has not been the practice in Scotland to encourage teaching inside such schools, but aid is rather given to teaching them outside the workhouse; and with regard to the Poor Law officers, the hon. Gentleman will see that the Poor Law Amendment Bill proposes to put the Poor Law officers in Scotland on precisely the same footing as in England. It would obviously be inconvenient to discuss these questions at present; but I may be allowed to suggest to the hon. Member that he should raise the points at issue in connection with either the Poor Law Bill or the Estimates.