HC Deb 19 March 1891 vol 351 c1431
MR. H. GARDNER (Essex, Saffron Walden)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that it is the custom of Boards of Poor Law Guardians, by their relieving officers, to enter without process of law the dwelling houses of persons who have received union relief, and to remove and sell the furniture and other goods of such persons, and apply the proceeds towards the costs of their relief; and whether such practice is within the competence of Poor Law Guardians; and, if not, whether he will direct a Circular to be issued to Boards of Guardians pointing out the illegality of such proceedings?


In the case of a person to whom relief has been granted by a Board of Guardians, the Guardians are not empowered to seize the furniture without any process of law. This is subject, however, to the enactment in the Poor Law Union Charges Amendment Act, 1849, under which in the case of a pauper dying and having in his possession or belonging to him any money or property, the Guardians of the union are empowered to reimburse themselves the expenses incurred by them in the burial of the pauper and in his maintenance at any time during the 12 months previous to the decease. I think that the Guardians under this enactment are empowered when they obtain possession of the furniture of a deceased pauper to sell it for the purpose of reimbursing themselves of the cost of his relief within the limitation referred to.