HC Deb 26 March 1885 vol 296 cc658-9

asked the President of the Local Government Board, If his attention has been directed to the Return of "Poor Rates and Pauperism" just issued (No. 77, B. 1); whether he can say if the following figures therefrom represent the total number of insane persons maintained at the public expense:—

1st July 1884. Indoor. Outdoor. Total.
Insane, viz.:—
Males 6,921 *22,492 29,413
Females 9,239 *28,720 37,959
Children 983 *430 1,413
Gross totals 17,143 51,642 68,785
* The majority of insane paupers here classed among the outdoor are in asylums.

whether he is aware that the impossibility of giving a full account of the expense of maintenance of pauper lunatics has been alleged on the ground that no distinction is made in Poorhouses between the cost of the insane and the sane, and will this defect be remedied; and, if not, can the estimated cost be given; whether he is aware that a complete Return of the cost of providing public asylum accommodation does not exist; and, whether he will cause such a Return, and also one showing the total annual cost of maintaining lunatics from public resources, to be laid upon the Table, and continued annually in the Reports of the Commissioners in Lunacy for the information of Members?


The Return referred to does not give the total number of insane persons maintained at the public expense. The numbers given in that Return are of the pauper lunatics maintained by the Guardians at the cost of the poor rates and do not include the insane who are maintained by the counties and boroughs at the cost of the county and borough rates. It would be impossible to give accurately the cost of the insane inmates of workhouses as distinguished from other indoor paupers without keeping separate accounts with regard to them. An estimate of the cost based on the cost of the workhouse inmates might be obtained from the Unions, but it would involve in some cases considerable trouble, as it could only be made on a calculation of the number of days that each lunatic was an inmate of the workhouse. The Return which was prepared by the Commissioners in Lunacy and presented to the House in June, 1883, contains, so far as the Board are aware, the fullest information available on this subject. The Commissioners are not subject to the directions of the Board, and the difficulty as regards obtaining such a Return has already been alluded to.