HC Deb 14 March 1881 vol 259 c916

asked the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Whether the following paragraph in the "Times" of 9th March correctly represents the views of the Government; and, if so, whether they will give effect to these views in the present year:— Last night a deputation from the Parochial Boards of Scotland waited upon Mr. Gladstone to ask for an increase in the Medical Poor Law grants. Mr. Gladstone told the deputation that he was under a mistake as to the nature of their application, and he must refer them to Lord Frederick Cavendish, who, after hearing their statement, gave an undertaking that he would grant an increase if the Parochial Boards were willing to allow the Poor Law supervision to exercise some control over the appointment and dismissal of their Medical Officers?


Sir, I have to thank my hon. Friend for giving me an opportunity of removing a misapprehension which could not, I think, be shared in by any member of the deputation referred to in the Question. The facts are as follows:—In reply to an observation made by a member of the deputation that there was no necessity for legislation, and that all that was needed to secure equality between England and Scotland was to place an increased sum in the Estimates for medical relief in Scotland, I pointed out that, to place England and Scotland on an equality, it would be necessary to make the condition of the grant the same as well as its proportions, and that that could not be done without legislation. I added that, to secure the desired equality, we must not look at this particular grant in aid alone, but include in our survey other grants in aid, such as that for pauper lunatics. I then as nearly as possible repeated the statement which I made a short time ago in this House in reply to a Question, that the Government was considering the subject of grants in aid at large, with the view, if possible, of devising some better method of regulating the appropriation of public money for local purposes, and that, in the meanwhile, we did not consider it desirable to insert an additional sum in the Estimates for medical relief.