1. Motion made, and Question proposed:
That a sum, not exceeding £116,997, be granted to Her Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March 1897, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. LLOYD-GEORGE (Carnarvon) Boroughs
called attention to the fact that under the Tenth section of the Act of 1888 power was given to the Local Government Board to delegate certain powers to the County Councils, and under 401 another section of the Act the County Councils had power to combine. He suggested that a combination of County Councils might be formed to which further powers should be delegated. The Local Government Board at present was severely overworked, and the only way in which the officials might be enabled to discharge all their important duties would be by relieving them of certain petty details attached to their office. There were, for instance, the adjustment of boundaries and the questions of gas, water, electric lighting, and tramways. To show the state of overwork which existed in the Department he cited the case of the County Council of which he was a member, which had made an application in regard to the adjustment of a boundary three years ago, an application which, although it was reported on favourably by the inspector of the Local Government Board, had only just been attended to owing to the kindness of the Secretary of the Local Government Board. But not even the Secretary of the Board, with all his industry, could possibly attend to all the cases which arose. Next, as to the question of loans to local authorities, be did not suggest that the County Councils should have the right to sanction loans. His suggestion was that where the county was very small it should be able to join with another Council, and that a Joint Committee should be appointed, and that this Joint Committee should have the power of sanctioning loans and inquire into the matter. This would greatly relieve the Local Government Board. He suggested that on a question of that kind where the finance of a county was too small, it should be allowed to combine with others and form a Joint Committee. There were a few other questions, as the appointment of officers of health. He thought if they had a joint committee of the County Councils that would be well done. He witnessed the case of Glamorgan and Brecon in the making of roads, and urged that a combination of the County Councils would be to the common interest. Another question was audit and surcharge. A Joint Committee could deal well with such matters, with regard to which there were many applications of the local authorities. They knew that there were Boards of Guardians who would not put into operation the powers 402 they had for the relief of the poor. What he said was that they ought to have a power which would act more or less on the spot, and which would not be over-burdened with an infinity of details on other matters. Well, he should not go through many other questions which the Local Government Board knew of very well. There were questions connected with the unemployed, with regard to whom the powers possessed were not enforced. If they would allow the County Councils to combine and gave them power to carry out the orders which they might consider it safe to intrust to one County Council, he thought there would be a great gain. In 1888 the Local Government Board had attempted something of the kind. He would suggest to the right hon. Gentleman to experiment in this direction. He begged to move to reduce the vote by £100.
§ *SIR ALBERT ROLLIT, (Islington, S.)
said he was not concerned to deny the importance of the general question which his hon. Friend had somewhat unexpectedly introduced to the Committee; still less did he entertain a feeling of jealousy of the County Councils; on the contrary, so far as County Councils were concerned in the management of their own county affairs, he shared in the very highest degree the feeling in favour of the localisation of powers. He would, indeed, support the devolution of many powers exercised by Parliament and the Departments, and he believed this to be the only way of solving questions of the highest political importance relating to each branch of the United Kingdom by moans of the extension of local government, for the sake of both Parliament and the localities. But most of the powers sought by his hon. Friend to be transferred referred to purely local matters, and would be just as much centralised, qua the boroughs, if placed in the hands of County Councils as they were in the hands of the Local Government Board. The boroughs had formed the precedent and example for the formation of County Councils, which were comparatively things of yesterday, and they could not be absorbed in or subordinated in any way to the new creations of 1888. The boroughs believed that their relations with the Local Government Board were more conducive to progress and reform than 403 could be the case if an inexperienced body like the County Council was substituted for the central authority. Taken as a whole, the relations between the boroughs and the Local Government Board had been excellent; the boroughs had great confidence in the Board; and while in favour of a large devolution of powers to both county and borough councils, they strongly objected to being placed under any new jurisdiction.
§ *SIR GEORGE OSBORNE MORGAN (Denbighshire, E.)
said he should have thought that if there was one body in the world competent to deal with the matters which under the Local Government Act might be transferred, it was a Joint Committee of County Councils. What happened at present? The Local Government Board was notoriously overworked and undermanned, and considerable time elapsed before an application was even attended to. The inspector sent down possessed no local knowledge, and got his information from the very persons to whom it was proposed to delegate these powers. In the case of Wales he did not know the language of the people, and in this respect it would be a distinct advantage to substitute the County Councils for the central authority. The President of the Local Government Board had already acknowledged that there was much in the contention of his hon. Friend, and he hoped that some definite action would now be promised.
§ THE PRESIDENT OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. HENRY CHAPLIN,) Lincolnshire, Sleaford
said that when the subject was raised on a former occasion he carefully guarded himself against giving any pledges; and he confessed that in the multiplicity of work with which the Local Government Board had to deal during the past few months this question had to some extent escaped attention. He admitted that the hon. Member's suggestion sounded very attractive, but it was not quite so easy to give effect to it as the hon. Member seemed to suppose. There was the objection on the part of the boroughs. They had some experience on that point, for, in pursuance of the power contained in the Act of 1888, the Local Government Board in the following year issued a Provisional Order by which it was proposed to transfer certain powers to County Councils. Considerable opposition was 404 offered, and the Committee on the Bill reported that it dealt with questions which appeared to them beyond their powers. There were two difficulties in connection with the hon. Member's proposal to limit to Wales the transfer of these powers. In the first place he was advised that in all probability this could not be done without legislation, and the hon. Member was well aware of the difficulties in the way of legislation. A question also arose as to whether the powers referred to could be vested in one or more County Councils only. The Local Government Board was advised that any transfer under the Act must be made to County Councils generally, and, so far as he was aware, no general desire had been expressed for a proposal which was now made on behalf of Wales. The hon. Member suggested that the question of boundaries should be left to local authorities; but, as a matter of fact, the County Councils did settle boundaries now, the only interference on the part of the Local Government Board being with regard to appeals. That was a matter with regard to which the right hon. Gentleman had not given him much assistance. It would not be reasonable that the power of appeal should be to the very body who made the order.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said then the matter was well worthy of consideration. The question of loans was of more importance. In that case the Local Government Board interfered on behalf of the future generation of ratepayers, and that was not a matter in which he could make the concession which the hon. Member desired. But, so far as it was possible to do anything in such matters as baths and washhouses, he would give the subject his consideration, and he hoped that probably in another Session he might be in a position to make a more definite statement. [Cheers.]
*THE CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS
I think I ought to point out to the Committee that it appears, on 405 looking at the Local Government Act, that the only method by which these powers could be given to the different localities is by Provisional Orders—that is to say, by legislation. It is a well-known rule that in Committee of Supply future legislation cannot be discussed.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ *MR. WALTER HAZELL (Leicester)
called attention to the recommendations of the Committee on the condition of the Metropolitan Poor Law Children. He stated that there were under the charge of the Poor Law Guardians of the Metropolis upwards of 17,000 children, and these might be taken to represent 50,000 children scattered over England and Wales. The Report of the Committee was a condemnation of the system of large barrack schools for these children. To begin with, ophthalmia was a great deal more rife among them than with children living under ordinary natural conditions, and, as to their general health, no less than 8 per cent. of the children were sometimes unable to be present at examinations in consequence of illness. Then the education was inferior to what they would obtain in ordinary public elementary schools. The scheme of education was adpoted in 1847, and except in the matter of drawing had remained unaltered for half a century. The recommendation of the Committee was that the system of barrack schools should be curtailed, and that even apart from this, the children should be sent as far as possible into the ordinary public elementary schools of the neighbourhood in which they lived. Even the so-called industrial training they received was recognised to be poor and second-rate. The girls sometimes left these schools in absolute ignorance of the use of the common utensils of the kitchen, and the boys did not understand how to change the common coinage of the realm. But the greatest of all existing evils was that life in a barrack for a child or an adult was an unnatural life. You could not develop the character, moral and intellectual of a child, by calling it No. 114; you could not call out sympathy by keeping it in a barrack where its idea of home was a long whitewashed corridor, leading to a huge dormitory containing scores of children. The life of these 406 poor children was one monotonous round. It had no kind of touch with the outer world; they could not go away for holidays because they had not fit relations to go to. Their whole school life was so cribbed, cabined, and confined, that in the end they were turned out, in the words of the Report, "dull, wooden and slow, and possessed of a great many moral and mental defects." More than that, this barrack life brought with it an unhappy habit of want of self-reliance. The system, too, was wasteful. The cost of these children worked out at 11s. 0½d. per head per week, whereas if they were boarded out with cottagers the cost would be 5s. 1½d. What were the remedies? The recommendation of the Committee amounted to this, that the children should be placed under the control of a central authority somewhat resembling in its constitution the Metropolitan Asylums Board, with a Children's Committee of each Board of Guardians in constant touch with this central authority. Such a system would enable children to be classified in a way that was not possible now, and it would enable the system of boarding-out to be developed—a system which had been very little adopted so far as London was concerned. There was no lack of cottage homes to which these children could be sent; such homes could be found in abundance. Today, from the Holborn District alone, with a population of 170,000 there were 800 children, who were not paupers, now visiting in country cottages through the organisation of the Children's Fresh Air Mission, while the whole of London at the present time managed to board out less than 1,000 out of 17,000 pauper children. The great bulk of the evidence pointed to the fact that the children were well treated. He admitted that it depended a great deal on the supervision of the local committees, but he contended that in this country, favoured as they were with so much local public spirit, there were many persons who would be only too glad to be set to work to help in any good cause; and he submitted that if they wanted to send 100,000 children away, they could be located in various villages with advantage to the villagers as well as to the children. The system prevailed in Scotland, France, the colony 407 of Victoria and other colonies. Their great aim should be to cut off the entail of pauperism, and this could not be done so long as they kept the children in touch with the workhouse. It was worth any effort or expense to bring the children up in such a way as to develop character and inculcate principles which should eventually make them good citizens, and if they placed the children in cottage homes, he contended that they were better fitting them for their future career than could be achieved by bringing them on scientific principles in a barrack. There was another system of groups of smaller homes, under the control of the guardians, where each house was under the care of a matron. Possibly a still better system was that adopted by the Sheffield Guardians of providing little isolated homes in different parts of the suburbs, where 10 or 15 of the children were placed under the care of a matron and where the utmost was done to bring the children into touch with the ordinary affairs of life. Evidence had been accumulated tending to show that the system of barrack homes was a system which this country ought to outgrow. We had entered on a period when the treatment of the poor was more humane and intelligent than formerly; and these poor children should have every possible opportunity given to overcome the difficulties of their origin. He urged the Local Government Board to hasten any legislation which might be required to carry into effect the recommendations of the Committee. The President should also now make a distinct statement that in no circumstances would he grant to the three Boards of Guardians now applying for it the power to enlarge their barrack schools. He moved to reduce the Vote by £100.
§ *MR. MONK (Gloucester)
said he had two complaints to make—one general and the other specific. Under the Local Government Act of 1894 Parish Councils came into existence with certain very serious duties to perform, some of which were imperfectly shadowed forth in the Act itself. It was left to the Local Government Board to issue orders relating to them. The consequence was that a vast number of orders were issued, and innumerable letters were addressed to the Board from all parts 408 of the country requesting advice and instructions. In many instances so great delay occurred in sending replies as absolutely to paralyse the action of the Parish Councils last year. That delay might have been occasioned by an insufficiency in the number of officials in that department; but, if such was the case, it was surely the duty of the President of the Local Government Board to apply to the Treasury for additional assistance. He did not, however, find' in these Estimates any material difference between the staff of clerks in 1896–7 from that in 1895–6, so that he was forced to the conclusion that the President was either satisfied with the present staff, or that the Treasury had refused to augment it. As an illustration of the evil arising from these delays, however they might be caused, he would instance the case of the parish in which he resided in Hertfordshire, where a scheme for a water supply, prepared by the Rural District Council, had been before the board for nearly five months before an inspector was sent to hold an inquiry respecting it. The consequence was that the village wells had become dry owing to the drought, and the unfortunate villagers were without water, while the best time for executing the work was lost. He left the right hon. Gentleman on the horns of the dilemma, and would only further assure him that the country would not tolerate inefficiency on the part of any of its public departments. Another complaint which he had to make was that the President appointed the 9th of March for parish meetings throughout the country for the election of parish councillors, whereas the 25th of March, or seven days before or after that date, was fixed by statute for the annual assembly of the parish meeting, whereby it became necessary to hold two parish meetings within 10 or 15 days of each other. Having in February last directed the attention of his right hon. Friend to the inconvenience thereby occasioned, and having received from him a reply to the effect that he recognised the inconvenience and regretted it, but that he considered it to be unavoidable owing to the date on which Easter fell this year, and to the fact that parish councillors came into office on the 15th of April; he 409 would now suggest to him that the annual assembly should be made moveable also, so that it might be held on the same day as that fixed by the Board for the election of councillors. That alteration might easily be effected by a short Act of a single clause, which he hoped would be introduced early in next Session. He commended that suggestion to the consideration of the President of the Local Government Board.
§ SIR HENRY FOWLER
said he was rather amused at the complaint of his hon. Friend. In 1891 he told the House what would happen on this point, and suggested that the Local Government Board should have nothing to do with fixing the dates, because whatever course they took the Department was sure to be criticised. But the House insisted that the Local Government Board should have this responsibility, and he held that if the Department were to have this responsibility it should have the power. The question of the amount of work which the Local Government Board had to cope with was very serious. The administrative duties imposed upon the Department by different Acts of Parliament were very large in number and the staff of the office was insufficient. When he was in office he indicated that it would become absolutely necessary to increase the staff largely. The duties of the Department concerned the health and mode of life of a large portion of the people of this country, and Parliament ought not to be penny wise and pound foolish in dealing with this question of an insufficient staff. He thought that most hon. Members would agree that the protracted delay in the execution of Local Government Board work often resulted in serious injury to localities and in great extravagance locally. The House of Commons ought to insist that there should be no haggling between the Treasury and the Department, but that the staff should be increased. As had been pointed out, the Board was the guardian of the ratepayers of the future. It was, of course, a temptation to a local authority to borrow as much as it could and to throw as much of the burden as possible upon future ratepayers. It was the duty of the Board to limit the amount of that burden, and the necessary work could not be done without an 410 adequate staff of inspectors. There was no doubt that the office was undermanned. In the Finance Department, the Engineering Department, the Poor Law Department, and the Public Health Department the same complaint was heard, that the work could not be got through. When a serious outbreak of sickness occurred in any locality the country was always ready to blame the Board because it was not in a position to send down inspectors as often as might be wished. The need for increased expenditure was not as urgent in the case of any other public office as it was in the case of the Local Government Board.
§ MR. GEOFFREY DRAGE (Derby)
associated himself with the desire that had been expressed that assistance should be given to poor children to rise in the world. The stigma of pauperism ought to be removed from them in their educational progress. The repeal of the Departmental Committee, he suggested, perhaps disclosed only part of the evils of the Poor Law. It only referred to the Poor Law schools of the Metropolis, and it would be very interesting to know whether the evils which had been found to exist in these schools were also to be found in provincial schools. The Report showed that the burden laid on the officials of the Local Government Board in connection with Poor Law schools was too heavy. In consequence of the enormous task imposed upon the inspectors there was inevitable delay in sending in their reports, in considering them, and in transmitting them to local authorities. There was apparently no real control over Boards of Guardians in their management of schools, the only way by which the Local Government Board could impose its decisions being by a refusal to contribute to a school out of the Metropolis Poor Law Fund. In its indignation at the evils that had been discovered to exist the public was inclined to overlook the admirable work done by the Department and by self-denying and self-sacrificing persons of independent position, who had received nothing but blame and reproach for the valuable services which they had rendered. Too often no attempt was made to discriminate between Boards of Guardians who had done good work and those that had neglected their duties. 411 The question of industrial training in Poor Law schools was one to which too much importance could not be attached. The children ought to be taught in such a way as would enable them to adapt themselves to the varying circumstances of trade and to leave one industry, when need should arise, for another. He regretted to say that the law as to half-timers had been systematically neglected. Not only were these children deprived of their education, but many were rendered incapable of obtaining any work for the rest of their lives. A member of the London County Council had exposed the horrors of the system, and a more terrible account of the life of children had never been laid before a civilised country. Then there was the question of the maintenance of children of tender years in the workhouses. They were kept of necessity in the company of criminals merely because there was no other place to put them in. Not only were they deprived of their education, but they were brought up in habits of vice and crime, which left them no chance of becoming good citizens. There was also the question of the control of children when they left these institutions. It was notorious that parents, when once their children had received their outfit and got into work, took them away from their situations and turned them adrift in the world. He would like to suggest that it might be possible to utilise the Education Department in connection with the work of the Local Government Board, in the same way that work was done by the Home Office in connection with factory legislation. As the right hon. Gentleman the late President of the Local Government Board had suggested, if any good was to be done, if any serious advance was to be made, the Local Government Board must receive further clerical assistance, and the staff of the inspectorate must be increased. Serious blots had been discovered in the boarding-out system, and if the system was to be remedied, it must be done by the appointment of an adequate number of capable women to enforce any regulations that might be made. The final question was the abolition of barrack schools, and in connection with that he would venture, in the first place, to suggest to the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government 412 Board the possibility of holding a general Inquiry into the system of Poor Law schools throughout the country. In the second place, an estimate of the expense which would be entailed by the abolition of barrack schools would have to be formed, and the question decided of how much ought to be done by the central authority and how much by the local authorities. He thought that no one ought to pass in review in that House a subject of this kind without mentioning the admirable work that had been done by the Metropolitan Association for Training Young Servants. It was impossible to over-estimate the work of that and kindred societies. After all, the question centred on the pure and simple question of pounds, shillings and pence, and if the right hon. Gentleman was to take any steps in the direction desired, he would have to go to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Chancellor of the Exchequer would have to provide the money. He therefore appealed to the House most strongly to let no consideration of money stand in the way of these very necessary reforms.
§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
thought that both the hon. Gentleman who had just sat down and his hon. Friend the Member for Leicester had laid themselves open to the charge of having too lightly adopted statements which had not been proved. His hon. Friend the Member for Leicester gave some colour to the view that the barrack schools brought up a generation of paupers who ultimately found their way into the workhouses. That was not the case. Speaking as the manager for some years of one set of schools, he could say that they had made most careful inquiry on that point, and with the exception of a very few children permanently afflicted by some disease or accident which rendered them unable to get out into the world and earn a living, no children who had been in their schools ever came into their workhouse, and there were no inmates of the workhouse who had ever-been in any pauper school. That was one example of the fear he had that in dealing with this subject hon. Members might be led away by statements that could not be substantiated. The boarding-out system had been suggested as a remedy for the evil complained of, but 413 he would be out of order in discussing that system, because legislation would be required to render its general adoption possible. However much a Board like the Holborn Board—which was said to have boarded out 800 children, though they had not boarded out anything like that number—might desire to board out children, they could only apply the system to orphan and deserted children. The same was the case with emigration. Many Boards boarded out or emigrated all the children they could. If boarding out wert; found to be a universal remedy, of course legislation would be needed in the first place, and that legislation would be opposed by the parents, who would be led to suppose that they were consigning their children to a system of slavery. Many of them would altogether shrink from having their children sent to other people's homes to call other people father and mother. Therefore, he doubted whether it would be possible to extend the system beyond its present limits. With regard to the cases of ophthalmia that had occurred in some of the Metropolitan Board Schools, he must remind the Committee that such matters were not always easily dealt with. The Local Government Board had made most careful inquiries into the subject. No doubt where a very large number of poor children were gathered together there was always danger of an outbreak of ophthalmia occurring, but that was a danger that could be guarded against by the provision of temporary homes where the children could be kept apart. With regard to the suggestion that there ought to be a greater control by the central Department, he had always shrunk from adopting as a remedy for any defect in the administration of a particular Department the creation of a new Department, and there were many difficulties which he believed could not be met by such a change. The cottage homes system, he thought, was capable of extension but that was within the powers of the Boards of Guardians already, without further legislation being required. It must be remembered that during the last few years women had been allowed to serve on Boards of Guardians, and that there had recently been a large increase in the number of women serving upon those Boards. The services of women had certainly done a 414 great deal towards improving the system of administration of that branch of our local control. The boarding-out system which could not be extended without further legislation, had, in the case of some Metropolitan Boards of Guardians, been already pushed as far as it would go. The system of apprenticeship had been attacked, but his own experience of it was not unfavourable, and he believed that it had worked well up to the present time, and that it had been attended with beneficial results. With regard to the staff, he fully recognised the admirable work which they had performed, and that there was great need that it should be increased in strength. He also recognised the efforts that had been made by the Local Government Board to obtain an efficient audit of the accounts. Another matter which he desired to call attention to was the fact that the Local Government Board was always trying to induce the different local bodies to attempt legislation by Provisional Orders instead of by coming to Parliament and asking them to pass Measures introduced with the intention of carrying out their objects. He had already on previous occasions had occasion to point out the danger that was likely to result from such a course of procedure.
§ MR. CHAPLIN
said with reference to what had fallen from the right hon. Baronet the Member for the Purest of Dean that he had taken the Act of 1888 as he found it, and as that Act imposed certain duties and responsibilities upon him he had thought it his duty to exercise some discretion in these matters. He was not in the least anxious to add to the labours of the Local Government Board. His right hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton had not used one word of exaggeration in respect to the necessity of a considerable addition to the staff of the Local Government Board. When he had held his present appointment but a very few months he came to the conclusion that the. Department was greatly undermanned, and that it would be impossible for it to continue permanently in its present condition. Having had some experience of the Treasury in the course of his life, however, he thought it desirable that he should have a more matured 415 knowledge of the working of the Department before making any demands, and therefore some time ago he had caused an Inquiry to he made by a Committee into the whole question of its staff and organisation. As soon as the arrangements in regard to the holidays of the officials were concluded, that Inquiry would be proceeded with, and he hoped before Parliament met again after the Recess he should he able to say that there had been considerable improvement in the staff and organisation of the Department. ["Hear, hear!"] A very important question had been raised by hon. Members with regard to the Metropolitan Poor Law Schools, and the Report of the Committee which had recently been published in regard to them. He regretted that that Committee had not thrown more light on the constitution of the central authority which they recommended, and through which the reforms they desired were to be obtained, as that appeared to him to be the crux of the question. The Committee had dealt with almost every conceivable aspect of the question except that one. They had examined exhaustively into the merits and demerits of all the different systems of education of Poor Law children, and they had made a vast number of recommendations, and they had all signed the Report in favour of the central authority, but as to what that central authority was to be, not one of them seemed to be agreed. In fact, their recommendation upon that point was of a purely negative character. According to the recommendations of the Committee the central authority was not to be the Metropolitan Asylums Board, it was not to be by direct election; and when they asked what it was to be, the reply was an absolute blank; and yet that was the pivot on which the whole of the recommendations turned. If this Committee, after 18 months of consideration, were unable to offer a solution of this question, he thought hon. Members would hardly expect him, with so little time at his disposal, to put forward a definite policy in regard to it at that period of the Session. There was, no doubt, a variety of ways in which the central authority might be created. They might create an entirely new one, by legislation; they might adopt the Metropolitan Asylums Board; 416 or they might avail themselves of their powers under the Metropolitan Poor Act of 18G7. Then there was the recommendation, which was supported in many quarters, that a children's department of the Local Government Board should be established. As to which of these proposals was the best, or whether any central authority at all was desirable, he was not, at all events at present, prepared to pledge himself. It was, he confessed, becoming clear to him that there were some classes of children who could better be dealt with by a central authority, probably, than by any other means. He would take the case of those unfortunate little children who were suffering from disease, and especially from ophthalmia. There could be no question but that this was a most serious evil at the present time, and the Local Government Board, recognising this fact, had instructed Dr. Stevenson to examine and report on the eyes of all the children in the different institutions where pauper children were maintained. When they had received his Report they would be in a better position to consider the most effective mode of dealing promptly with this part of the question. It was stated in the Report of the Committee that in 1874 Dr. Nettleship reported that nearly 80 per cent. of the children at Han well had had ophthalmia, but he was informed that out of the 900 or 1,000 children there were at the present time only 50 had got the disease, and they were all of them in the ophthalmic school. If these results could be obtained on a small scale at a place like Hanwell, he saw no reason why it should not be done on a larger scale for all the children in the pauper schools of London. Possibly, also, the question of convalescent homes and their management might be dealt with advantageously in the same way. ["Hear, hear!"] There were other recommendations in the Report with which he cordially agreed, such as in regard to the question of aggregation, and he should certainly be unwilling to consent to the creation of any more of the great schools which were described as barrack schools. Personally he was struck by the advantages of the cottage homes, but whether they should be grouped or isolated required to be carefully considered. He had no doubt that good 417 work had been done by cottage homes which were grouped. Then there was another question raised by the Report, and that was the question of educational inspection. ["Hear, hear!"] The Committee recommended that it should be transferred entirely to the Education Department, and with that proposal he should agree in principle. He hoped some arrangement might be made, but the question was not so simple as it seemed. There were many other matters referred to with which he concurred, but in regard to some of them he wished to utter a word of caution. There was naturally a sentimental feeling expressed with regard to what was called "the pauper taint," and the enormous advantage in after-life of getting rid of it. He quite sympathised with that view, but he thought it might be overdone. The Member for the Forest of Dean said something of those who had been paupers in early life taking to pauperism in after years, He had some interesting figures on that point. They were taken from a Return recently laid on the Table. The first was with regard to the number of adult inmates of workhouses and infirmaries in the Metropolis on May 30, 189g; the second showed the average daily number of children attending schools during the years ended Lady Day, 1875, 1885, and 1895. The numbers of these children were 8,000, 11,000, and 11,747. The third particular was the number of inmates on June 1, 1896, who had been educated in Poor Law schools and therefore, as some people held, must be imbued with the pauper taint. The number on May 30, 1896, was, roughly speaking, 38,000. Of these 38,000, how many had been educated in pauper schools? That was a very interesting question. ["Hear, hear!"] According to the Return of June 1 there were 435, but from this had to be deducted 232 who were suffering from infirmity, so that out of the total pauper adults the number was only 203. ["Hear!"]
§ MR. CHAPLIN
could not say. The Return was moved for by the Member for Kensington, who probably asked for the information he desired to get. ["Hear, hear!"] These figures might not be conclusive, but they went far to 418 show that the children taught in the pauper schools were not necessarily affected by the pauper taint throughout the whole of their natural lives. ["Hear, hear!"] Indeed, it would be a most melancholy thing if it were so. The Report, however, made such a painful impression upon him that as soon as the legislative pressure of his Department abated he took the opportunity of seeing some of the schools for himself. [Cheers.] He took the utmost care in every case that his visit should be unexpected; so much so that on one occasion he had the greatest difficulty in getting in at all. [Laughter.] The impression made on his mind by personal inspection was very widely different from the impression made by the perusal of the Report, ["Hear, hear!"] He admitted that there was room for great improvement and great reform; but, even so, he was greatly surprised at what he saw after having read these Reports. There was the healthy appearance of the children. He saw nothing to confirm what he read as to the sluggish, sullen, dull appearance of the boys and their dislike of play. In the cricket ground he saw a number of promising young bowlers. [Laughter and "Hear, hear!"] With regard to their carelessness, obstinacy, and ignorance of common things, and a total absence of a notion of the value of money, when he arrived at the station he found two of the boys there. They readily answered his questions, and when he gave them 1d. each they had not the slightest difficulty in making their way to an automatic machine. [Cheers and laughter.] He did not find in the Report of the Committee any reference to the evidence of Miss Poole, the secretary to the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants. Miss Poole quoted the statements of trained agents of the society to show that the school girls got the very best places, and kept their places better than other girls. They were stated to be more affectionate and docile, cleaner and neater. Their chief failing was stated to be temper. There was any amount of evidence to the same effect. It seemed to him there was a good deal to be said in favour of these children as well as against them. Even on this point there was a wide difference of opinion, and, so far as he had been 419 able to judge, he should certainly say the balance was rather in favour of the girls than against them. It must be remembered that pauper children were of different kinds. He had had the advantage of seeing the cottage homes at Banstead, and he was convinced that they were doing most admirable work, both for boys and girls. He had heard a good deal about the failure of industrial training; but he was very much struck by the admirable work done by some of the boys. Both in connection with this school and the girls' school at Sutton an immense demand existed for the services of the girls. Places were found for them without difficulty; and, indeed, the applications could not be met. The lady in charge of the girls' school at Sutton told him that last year she had had over 1,000 applications for girls as servants, though she was not able to supply more than 100 or 150. If these statements were true, surely that was very significant, as well as very satisfactory, for it would be absolutely contrary to all experience in any relation of life that there should be so great a demand for the services of these girls unless their education and bringing-up were satisfactory. He did not say this because he wanted in any way to disparage the Report of the Departmental Committee, but because he wanted to show that there were a good many sides to this question which had still to be considered. It was a very large and very important question, and a mistake in policy in dealing with it too hurriedly would, in his judgment, be a supreme misfortune. He fully realised the importance of the question, and it would receive his closest attention. With regard to the subject of boarding-out, he would go so far as to say that, subject to efficient supervision, he should regard it as a very important factor in the improvement of the lot of some of these children. But in all the circumstances, having endeavoured to put the case as fairly as he could, he thought he was justified in asking the Committee on this occasion to excuse him from either attempting to lay down a definite policy on the subject or of giving any more definite pledges than he had given. ["Hear, hear!"]
§ MR. JAMES STUART (Shoreditch, Hoxton)
said he was sure the Committee 420 would not find fault with the spirit in which the right hon. Gentleman had approached the subject. He had dealt with it with a fair amount of sympathy, and with much reasonableness and caution. He, however, desired to urge upon the right hon. Gentleman a point that had scarcely been touched in the Debate. A great deal had been said as if Boards of Guardians in the Metropolis were a very backward set of people, and the Local Government Board had been urging them on. In some respects that picture was exactly the reverse of the truth. There were Boards of Guardians in the Metropolis who had been calling upon the Local Government Board to assist efforts which in that Debate had met with universal approval, and they had failed to secure that assistance up till now. What was immediately required was Departmental action rather than legislation. The particular reform to which he desired to draw attention was with respect to the inspection of the education in these schools. He would prove what he said as to Boards of Guardians in certain quarters of the Metropolis being in advance of the central authority. In 1889 a memorial was presented to the Local Government Board from guardians and managers of Poor Law schools representing various Metropolitan Boards, and the Committee would see in the Report of the Departmental Committee almost the very words and the very arguments used by those Boards of Guardians seven years ago. The memorial said:—In the opinion of your memorialists it is desirable that the education in Poor Law schools should he transferred to the Education Department and be brought into harmony with the general elementary education of the country.And again:—That while there is urgent necessity for the highest training and intelligence on the part of teachers in Poor Law schools, teachers with the highest qualification and training in elementary schools under the Education Department are deterred from seeking employment in the Poor Law schools by reason of their being removed from the cognisance of the Education Department and of their ceasing to act with the general body of elementary teachers and Her Majesty's school inspectors throughout the country.The memorial concluded:—That the elementary education of children who are for a time maintained in Poor Law 421 schools, should he continuous as far as possible with the education they receive in Elementary Schools outside, and your memorialists therefore respectfully ask that your Board will be pleased to take such steps as may he deemed expedient for securing the assimilation of the system of education in Poor Law schools with that of elementary education throughout the country.In 1889 the Local Government Board objected to the change, and raised Departmental difficulties. We far as he could ascertain at the time, the Education Department had no objection to the change. He brought this question before the late Government, and the Education Department expressed their complete readiness to enter into the matter if the Local Government Board was ready; that it was the Local Government Board that was the stick-in-the-mud. He went to the Local Government Board, then presided over by Mr. Shaw Lefevre, who pointed out certain Departmental difficulties which he had never been really able to fathom. If they were going to have this urgent and practical reform postponed until they could get a new central Poor Law authority for the Metropolis, they might have to wait a very long time. He invited the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to what the Report said upon this particular reform. The Report picked out this particular reform, the transference of inspection to the Education Department, as a thing that should be done whatever happens. It said:—One of the most effective means of improving the existing institutions of the places of education would he to complete the incorporation of the education of the Poor Law children into the general system of elementary instruction as administered by the Education Department.And a little further down, after a reference to the expediency of establishing a central authority for the general administration of the schools—that was the central authority which was criticised by the right hon. Gentleman—the Report proceeded:—It will suffice to repeat hero that, whatever change may he made in that direction, the educational work of these schools should he brought under the supervision of the Education Department.It would be seen, therefore, that this particular recommendation was put by the Committee itself outside of the fundamental proposal of a new central authority 422 upon which there might very well be considerable difference of opinion; and further, they said there was no reason to fear any practical difficulty in giving effect to the recommendation. That being so, there ought to be no delay in carrying it out. In order to meet the Departmental difficulty which appeared to have arisen, the Commitee of Council on Education having expressed doubts as to the expediency of separating the educational from the other inspection of Poor Law schools, he suggested that the difficulty might be met in this way—that whore application was made by a Board of Guardians in order to have their schools put under the Education Department, and where the Local Government Board were satisfied that such application was justified, in those particular cases those schools should be put under the Education Department. That in itself would do a great deal to encourage the forward policy of guardians. The Board of Guardians of Shoreditch had repeatedly asked that this should be done, so that it was not always the Local Government Board that was making the running for backward Boards of Guardians, but Boards of Guardians were themselves occasionally hindered by the Local Government Board. This transference of inspection from the Local Government Board to the Education Department had, he reminded the House, been already carried out in the case of Board of Admiralty schools, and carried out with success. It would be a disgrace to their administration, to the Local Government Board as well as to the Education Department, if, with the facts he had brought out, the Departmental difficulty could not be arranged. Reference was made in the Report to schools in which he was personally interested—namely, the schools at Hornchurch under the Shoreditch Board of Guardians, and it would be seen that the results were compared with the other schools at Ilford. The comparison was to the detriment of Hornchurch—that was to say, the Poor Law schools, because there the children were not brought under the ordinary elementary education system of the country as the Ilford schools were. Surely it was a great misfortune that they were paying ratepayers' money for the schools at Hornchurch, and yet that they were 423 not able to bring them up to a high standard because they were under the wrong supervision and the wrong inspection. The Shoreditch Board did not want to make money by the change for which they asked, though they would be glad to have the payment depend upon the success of their schools, because that was the only lever by which they could bring the schools and the teachers up to the proper level. This was a practical point raised by the Boards of Guardians in 1889—nay, since 1884, for the Elementary Education Commission presided over by Lord Cross brought the subject to notice. The primary object of the Poor Law schools was to educate the children, and the education of these schools and the other schools ought to be in common, because the children in both sets of schools had to fight the same battle of life. He hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would give some more definite assurance than he had yet done on this point of education to which he had been calling attention.
§ MR. A. J. MUNDELLA (Sheffield, Brightside)
said that the Committee had enjoyed hearing one of the most interesting Debates of the Session. He was prepared to endorse all that had been said by the hon. Member for Leicester, and to support the appeal which had been made by the hon. Member for Shoreditch to bring the schools under the Education Department. The point, indeed, was at one time all arranged and settled, in 1885, between Sir John Hibbert and himself. It was an enormous loss to the children that they were not placed under the Education Department, and brought into contact with other children outside their own schools. The Report of the Departmental Committee, of which he was chairman, had to pass through a severe fire of criticism outside, and he had heard all that could be said in the House on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman should not forget that the Committee was appointed by the Local Government Board, and there were members on that Committee who had unique experience on all these questions. The right hon. Gentleman quoted with great approval what he saw at Sutton, but he forgot that the Rev. Brooke Lambert had signed the Report, and the reverend gentleman was not only chairman of the 424 Sutton Schools, but the chairman of the Metropolitan Association for Befriending Young Servants. The right hon. Gentleman, he felt sure, would have to base his future legislation on the lines of this Report. After all the criticisms which had been passed on the Report, and after six months of deliberation, the Committee were prepared to stand by every line of the Report; they did not recede from one word of it. The right hon. Gentleman quoted a statement about idle boys whom he saw when visiting an institution; but he reminded the right hon. Gentleman of the words of Dr. Brydges, a most distinguished officer of the Local Government Board, who said that it was quite impossible from casual observation during a visit to a school to arrive at a true estimate of its condition and organisation. As to ophthalmia, he commended the two chapters in the Report on that subject to the attention of the Committee. Every word on the subject had been carefully scanned, almost written, by one of the ablest oculists in Europe, Mr. Nettleship, who was on the Committee, and who had made ophthalmia and the condition of the Poor Law schools in respect of ophthalmia a long study. Matters were undoubtedly better than they were, though there ought not to be even 50 cases of ophthalmia at Hanwell. One way of getting rid of ophthalmia was to scatter the children in small homes or board them out, to got rid of the aggregation of children in the same atmosphere and leading the same conventional life. He was glad to believe that no more large barrack schools would be built, and that there would be no enlargement of the existing barrack schools. They ought to be gradually disused. The Committee had found in the same wards children suffering from ophthalmia and others suffering from ringworm. Of course they infected one another. Ophthalmia, let the Committee remember, was a complaint which recurred in a child's after life, and a man suffering from it might be unable to obtain employment. In fact, the disease often brought its victims to poverty, misery, and ruin. On the subject of boarding out, he agreed that cottage homes were a great improvement on barrack schools. There were, however, some disadvantages in the English cottage-home system. The system was carried out better in Scotland, where 425 84 per cent. of the pauper children were boarded out. They were brought up with the children of the neighbourhood, attended the ordinary schools, and were absorbed in the population. To board out a child cost only £13 a year, whereas the cost of a child in a barrack school was estimated at £29. A very urgent matter was the question, what ought to be done with the people known as "ins and outs?" There were parents who dragged their children from fair to racecourse, and who went into the workhouse in the intervals. Some of them went into the workhouse every month, some every fortnight, and some every week. Mr. Lockwood, a Local Government Board Inspector, mentioned eleven families who led this kind of life. One of these families, in which there were three children, were "in and out" 62 times between October 3, 1893, and November 19, 1894. This class of people was seen nowhere else in Europe, and their mode of existence was a scandal and stain upon our civilisation. Only last Saturday, in the richest part of London, he had seen a woman with a baby in her arms and three children dragging at her skirts. They were simply bundles of rags. Such exhibitions of misery and squalor could not be seen anywhere else than in England, and the reason why such sights were common here was that we allowed the Poor Law to be abused. Parents went into the workhouse for a few days, and then left with their children to attend race meetings and fairs. What could be expected of these poor children when they grew up? He urged the Committee to give careful attention to the Report which had been published. If it had done nothing else it had already had good results in drawing attention of the Local Government Board, and of Guardians, to the present deplorable state of things. Nothing short of the recommendations of the Committee would be of any real avail. He thought that the President of the Local Government Board, who he was glad to say regarded the Report with some sympathy, would find that it must be adopted en gros.
§ THE FIRST LORD OF THE TREASURY
begged to remind the Committee that the discussion of Supply could not extend beyond 10 o'clock. He, there- 426 fore, hoped that the Committee would consent to finish the discussion of this particular Vote now. There were, he knew, many hon. Members who desired to ask questions concerning some of the remaining Votes.
§ SIR JOSEPH SAVORY (Westmorland, Appleby)
said he wished to bring before the President of the Local Government Board a grievance felt by the Borough of West Ham. He thought the Committee and the right hon. Gentleman would feel great sympathy with the borough in the exceptionally heavy rates it had to bear at the present time, which were certain to increase in the future. The authorities were extremely anxious to exercise economy wherever they could, and in December last they applied to the Local Government Board to give them permission to appoint overseers under Section 33 of the Parish Councils Act of 1894. That section gave the Board power to make an Order conferring on a council any powers, duties or liabilities of overseers. The Borough of West Ham applied to the Board to give them this power in order that they might effect an economy in the collection of the rates. The Board had not actually declined to do this, but they so far withheld their decision. The matter was of very great urgency and importance, as notice had been given to the poor rate collectors to determine their office with a view to new appointments being made at fixed salaries, and these notices would expire on December 29th of this year. He therefore appealed to the right hon. Gentleman to give the Borough of West Ham the privilege to which they were entitled.
*COLONEL MELLOR (Lancashire, Radcliffe)
called attention to the fact that the town of Radcliffe, which he represented, had applied to the Local Government Board for a loan of £6,800 to enable them to construct some new intercepting sewers, to provide for a new urban district which would add 5,000 population to the district and bring its numbers up to 25,000. The Local Government Board refused its consent to the loan unless the local authority purchased fifteen additional acres of land for surface filtration purposes. In Lancashire they had an authority called 427 the Mersey and Irwell Joint Committee, which was appointed by the County Councils of Cheshire and Lancashire under a special Act of Parliament. The officials of that body examined the effluent of the Lancashire towns periodically, and published a report. It was shown by the report that the effluent of Radcliffe was one of the very best in the whole county. Sir H. Roscoe was the chemist who dealt with the matter, and he applied simple but effective tests. By his tests Manchester came first on the list, Eccles second, and Radcliffe third. Their effluent was described as clear and colourless, and about as perfect an effluent as could be produced. With such a report as that, issued under such authority, and by such an eminent chemist as Sir H. Roscoe, it was too late in the day for the Local Government Board to tell them they could not purify the sewage unless they bought land for surface filtration. The land which was recommended by the Local Government Board to be bought for that purpose was in every way unsuitable. It rested on the coal measures, the neighbourhood was honeycombed with colliery workings,—subsidences were constantly taking place,—it was some 80 feet higher than the outfall works, 1,200,000 gallons of sewage would have to be raised to that height every 24 hours and conveyed some 600 feet in pipes; a costly installation of steam engines and steam boilers would have to be laid down in duplicate, and to do this and to purchase the land, estimated to cost £6,000, would involve an extra expenditure estimated at £30,000. This would impose on the district a load of debt which would hang round the necks of the people an increased weight of taxation, and would probably do a great deal to crush the industries of the locality and add to the expense of the production of their manufactures, so that competition with foreign goods would become increasingly difficult. The Local Authority would undertake that if the loan was granted, and if they should hereafter fail to satisfy the requirements of the Board with regard to the sewage effluent, then they would face the expenditure which was now attempted to be forced upon them. He hoped the right hon. Gentleman would allow them to have the loan on that understanding. ["Hear, hear."]
§ MR. FREDERICK CAWLEY (Lancashire, Prostwich)
wished to call attention to the fact that the District Council of Prestwich required a loan of £1,600 to defray the cost of making a sewer which was greatly needed for new property. An application was made to the Local Government Board, who sent down an inspector to make the usual local inquiry. No opposition was offered, and the inspector was satisfied with the plans, and indeed no exception could be taken to the council's proposals, but the Local Government Board refused to sanction the loan, on the ground that the arrangements of the council for dealing with the sewage at the outfall were not satisfactory. They required that, in addition to the precipitation tanks which were now in operation and a filter bed which was in course of construction, a large area of land should be acquired for service filtration. This the council were of opinion was a stipulation which was wholly unreasonable. The loan was refused, not on account of any objection to the works, but on a purely theoretical objection to the council's system, largely adopted in Lancashire, and one which was approved by the Mersey and Irwell Joint Committee. This system, which was that of precipitation and filtration, was deemed the best by many experts, but the question was whether the Local Government Board were right in saying that one system of dealing with sewage, and one only, was the right system, whatever the formation of the land, and whatever the other difficulties of adopting that system. He did not think it was right, and he wished the President of the Local Government Board to consider the subject with a view to a remedy of the grievance.
§ *MR. EDWIN LAWRENCE (Cornwall, Truro)
said that he was sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board was not in his place, because he wished to express his surprise at the extraordinary credulity which the right hon. Gentleman displayed in believing statements which had been made to him in contradiction to the Report of experts, whose assistance had been called in to advise the Department on the subject. It was impossible that one visit paid by the right hon. Gentleman to these Poor Law 429 schools enabled him to understand the matter. The Report that had been drawn up by the experts was true.
§ MR. ARTHUR JEFFREYS (Hants,) Basingstoke
wished to ask the hon. Gentleman the Secretary to the Local Government Board a question with regard to the election of Parish Councillors. Under the Local Government Act it was necessary that before a poll could be had at the election of Parish Councillors, the poll must be demanded by five parish electors, otherwise the parish was not to be put to the trouble and expense of an election. The Local Government Board, however, by their circular, had set aside the provision of the Act, and directed that a poll should be had in the event of a single parish elector demanding it. The consequence was that under the circular one man had the power to put the parish to the trouble and expense of an election. This matter had been brought to the notice of the right hon. Gentleman by Questions that had been put to him by hon. Members on both sides of the House, on the ground that the operation of the direction in the circular had created great ill-feeling. He hoped that the hon. Member the Secretary to the Local Government Board would not by legislation, because that was not required, but by a statement of opinion in that House, put this matter right.
§ SIR ALBERT ROLLIT
said that last year he had brought the subject of the greater classification of paupers and workhouses under the notice of the Government, and he should like to know whether his proposals in those directions could be carried out without recourse to legislation. He highly approved the circular since issued by the Department with those objects, for the people expected that something would be done quickly to better the condition of the deserving poor, both by pensions and by workhouse and other administration.
§ *THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. T. W. RUSSELL,) Tyrone, S.
said that the subject to which the hon. Member for South Islington had called his attention was one which involved a mere question of administration and the various proposals could be carried into effect without further legislation. With regard to the question of the number of 430 parish electors who were entitled to demand a poll at a parish council election, he might say that next year no regulation would be made and the provision of the Act would be interpreted by the Chairman of the parish meeting. ["Hear, hear!"] He would see what could be done in order to carry out the views of the hon. Member for West Ham. The question of the Radcliffe sewage was not very easily dealt with. The hon. and gallant Member for the Radcliffe Division of Lancashire had referred to what he called the cast-iron rule of the Local Government Board in this matter, but it was the duty of the Board to see that in regard to the sanctioning of loans the law was not broken. The Rivers Pollution Prevention Act rendered it an offence to discharge sewage into any river, and the question the Board had to decide in this case was whether the proposals of the local authority, upon which they asked for the sanction of a loan, would comply with the law. The Board had recognised the advance of science in this matter, and that sewage could be treated, and was being treated, by chemical means with very good effect, but in this case the Board had come to a decision on the advice of their chief engineer, who was sent down to Radcliffe to investigate the question, even after the local inquiry had been held. The report of both the experts was to the effect that the purchase of land was necessary, and that the scheme could not be safely carried out by chemical means alone, and that the sewage would have to be distributed over land. In the face of these two distinct reports, it was not possible foe the Local Government Board to act upon anything else, but as the case had been pressed upon the Board he would undertake to look into it, and see if it were possible to do anything. Another question that had been raised was as to the date of parish meetings, which had been fixed for the 9th March and the 20th of March. The true remedy for this state of things was to alter the Act of 1894, and he did not think that any opposition would be offered to a Bill brought in for that purpose. The difficulty did not arise out of any action of the Local Government Board, but out of the Act of Parliament itself. The Local Government Board would do their best to 431 obviate any difficulty in the future. He might take that opportunity of stating that the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board had been compelled to retire from the House by indisposition.
§ MR. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)
said that on behalf of the hon. Member for West Carmarthen he desired to call attention to the illegal appointment of a highway surveyor by the District Council. The Committee was aware that the Local Government Board exercised a dispensing power in matters of this kind, often beneficially, but this case appeared to be hardly one that ought to be passed over. These people, although they knew perfectly well that they had no right to appoint a new officer, did so in defiance of the law. If the Local Government Board did not exercise its authority in a case of this kind, he wished to ask in what cases it would exercise its authority?
§ MR. PRYCE-JONES (Montgomery Boroughs)
called attention to the case of a man who suffered from an infirmity, who received 3s. a week from a benefit society, and was not, in consequence, relieved as he should have been. He regretted that in many instances only partial relief was given instead of full relief. This man should have been allowed to live outside the workhouse and have his liberty while having his relief, but the Board of Guardians treated him in exactly the same way as the man who had not exercised any thrift in order to provide for his old age. He wished, also, to call attention to the case of a man with a large family and a very small wage, who was actually called upon to help to maintain his father and mother in the workhouse. He congratulated the Local Government Board and the Government upon the steps which they had taken to bring about the classification of paupers, and he hoped that they would now turn their attention to the classification of workhouses. In 432 Montgomeryshire a considerable saving, and greater efficiency would, he believed, result from reducing the number of workhouses in the county. He hoped, also, that the Local Government Board would show their sympathy in providing trained nurses in workhouses, and in giving some useful employment to those who had to live in workhouses. He regretted that this important Department should have to be discussed at the tail end of the Votes in Supply, as, in view of its having to deal with workhouses and the poor he thought it was the most important Department in the State. Up to the present our poor houses had had no direct representation in that House.
§ MR. CAWLEY
thought that his remarks had been misunderstood. Borrowing powers were refused for making a sewer for drains to new houses. The loan was not required for sewage purposes at all, but for new drains to new property. It was refused by the Local Government Board because they were only willing to grant a loan when the scheme was accompanied by land filtration.
§ *MR. T. W. RUSSELL
replied that the Local Government Board could not consider the question of sewerage apart from the question of the disposal of the sewage. But he would undertake to look into the whole matter. The case which had been raised by an hon. Member in regard to a member of a friendly society who received 3s. a week, as outdoor relief was, he considered, one for the discretion of the Guardians. In regard to the second point, that was not a matter either for the Local Government Board or the Board of Guardians, but would involve legislation. The details of the case mentioned by the hon. Member for the Flint Boroughs had been correctly stated by the hon. Member; the highway authority dismissed the surveyor when they had no legal right to do so; the County Council, which alone had the power of dismissal, declined to confirm the act, but the highway 433 authority appointed another man, to whom they paid money for the purpose of repairing the roads. When the auditor went round he declined to sanction the payment, and the matter came before the Local Government Board. The Board took the view that this money had, at all events, been expended for public purposes, and that there had been no attempt at fraud, and, although the highway authority were recalcitrant and had acted illegally, they thought it right, in view of this circumstance, to remit the surcharge. The appointment had been set right, and the matter was not likely to rise again.
§ *MR. HAZELL
asked leave, in view of the sympathetic speech of the right hon. President, to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Original Question put and agreed to.