HC Deb 08 June 1888 vol 326 c1525

asked the President of the Local Government Board, if the Guardians of the poor of the parish of Poplar exceeded their duty in refusing Mr. Frank Burge, an inmate of the workhouse of that parish, three weeks' leave to provide a home for his family on being offered employment, thereby rendering him a permanent pauper, and making his family chargeable on the rates; and, whether, in the event of Mr. Burge again obtaining employment, the required leave will be allowed?

THE PRESIDENT (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

Frank Burge has been a solicitor's clerk, and is now an inmate of the Poplar Workhouse, where he has been with his wife and children for about five years. In 1884, he was prosecuted for desertion, and sentenced to 14 days' imprisonment. During the earlier years of his stay in the workhouse the Guardians repeatedly allowed him to leave the workhouse without his wife and children; but the continual recurrence of these applications tended to interfere with the discipline of the workhouse, and leave was refused. Burge subsequently brought an action against four of the Guardians for maliciously refusing to allow him to leave the workhouse; but he was non-suited, and the Court of Appeal confirmed the decision of the Divisional Court. He was allowed 14 days' leave of absence without his family in November last, but without any practical result. I am informed that if Burge can show that he has obtained employment, and that there is a reasonable prospect of his providing a home for his wife and children, the Guardians would, undoubtedly, assist him.