HC Deb 20 August 1894 vol 29 cc11-2
MR. COBB (Warwick, S.E., Rugby)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, in framing the Regulations under The Local Government Act, 1894, he will pay special attention to the importance of providing that ballots, either for the election of Parish Councils or to decide questions arising at parish meetings, shall be taken at the least possible cost; whether he is aware that any such expense as that relating to a County Council election would tend to make most important portions of the Act a dead letter, and would in many parishes exhaust the whole of the rating powers for the then current, year; whether he is aware that ballots in rural parishes of upwards of 3,000 inhabitants have been taken at an expense, including everything, of less than £3, and that this has mainly resulted from the appointment of a local returning officer, who has carried out the election for a very trifling fee, or even for no fee at all; whether he is aware that if existing paid officials are appointed Returning Officers, and paid according to the existing rates, the absolutely requisite economy cannot be carried out; and whether he will, either by fixing a scale by the Regulations or by giving instructions to the County Councils, secure that all ballots under the Act shall be carried out at a very trifling expense?


The Local Government Board in framing, their Regulations as to polls at elections of Parish Councillors and polls consequent on parish meetings, will be desirous of not imposing any duties which can be avoided, so that there may be no unnecessary expense. The scale of expenses as regards the elections will be prescribed by the County Council. If the services of suitable persons as presiding officers and clerks can be obtained without remuneration or at a nominal fee as suggested, it would, of course, materially diminish the expenses.


Might it not do some good if a special circular were addressed to the County Council on the point?


I think that point is worthy of consideration.