HC Deb 05 March 1896 vol 38 cc206-7

I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland if the Government could grant the various Poor Law Unions, as well as the lunatic asylums, money to buy or rent 50 acres of laud adjoining or near the Unions, in order that farming and market gardening under technical and practical instruction may be carried on by able paupers?


I am not aware of any statutory authority which would enable the Government to make grants to the Guardians of Poor Law Unions in Ireland for the purpose indicated in the Question. Power is given by the Poor Relief Acts to purchase or hire land, not exceeding 12 acres, in connection with Workhouses, and also to purchase or hire additional land not exceeding 25 acres, for the purpose of instructing children in Workhouses in the cultivation of land. In such cases the Guardians pay the rent or purchase money of the land taken. The majority of the able-bodied inmates in Workhouses are casuals, or tramps, who only remain for a night or so, and who could not, therefore, be employed in agricultural work, and in most Workhouses the ordinary able-bodied inmates are so few in number that considerable difficulty exists at the present time in cultivating the land already attached to Workhouses. No representations have reached the Local Government Board from Boards of Guardians indicating that any necessity exists for making further provision for the agricultural training of paupers as suggested by the hon. Gentleman.