HC Deb 05 March 1886 vol 303 cc16-7

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether those who, as a test of their willingness to work, seek and obtain employment and pay from the relieving officers in the labour yards of the various boards of guardians will be disfranchised for so doing; and, if so, whether steps will be taken to prevent such disqualification under the present exceptional circumstances?


The task of work which is required by Boards of Guardians in the case of able-bodied persons applying for relief is intended as a test of destitution. The Guardians do not pay for the work, but give such relief in the cases in which the test is imposed as the circumstances may require. Relief by the Guardians where the persons are set to work is attended with the usual statutory disqualification, and this disqualification could only be removed by legislation. Where the circumstances admit of it, we think it very desirable, having regard to the present distress in certain districts, that the Local Authorities should expedite the commencement of works which are contemplated by them; and that in the employment of labour they should act in concert with the Guardians. If the works are undertaken without the intervention of contractors, the officers of the Guardians might refer to the Local Authority for employment the persons who appeared to be most deserving of such assistance, and persons so employed would be saved from the disqualification which attaches to relief from the rates. There should, of course, be strict supervision of the men employed, such as would be the case on the part of a person who contracted for the work. The wages should probably be less than the usual rate, and the acceptance of the work would then be a proof of need, and it would afford no inducement to continue the employment when other opportunity of obtaining work offered. It is intended by the Board to press upon the Loral Authorities the adoption of such arrangements as those where exceptional distress prevails.