HC Deb 21 May 1896 vol 41 cc75-6
MR. C. E. SCHWANN (Manchester, N.)

; I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department—(1) whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that the magistrates of the town of Oldham are in the habit of committing householders who are unable to pay their rates to prison in Manchester, where many have to wear prison dress, and are supplied with bare prison diet; (2) whether he is further aware that the principal cause of this state of things is the refusal of the local authorities in Oldham to allow landlords to compound for the rates; and (3), whether he can bring any influence to bear on the authorities of Oldham to cause them to remove this disability?


Yes, Sir, my attention has been drawn to this matter. Persons committed to prison for non-payment of rates are treated as debtors, and as such are allowed to provide themselves with food and clothing; if unable sufficiently so to provide themselves, they are fed and clothed under the regulations affecting debtor prisoners. With regard to the second part of the Question, I understand that some difficulty in their local Acts has prevented the Corporation from allowing the composition of rates, but that they are now applying to the Local Government Board to amend the Acts by Provisional Order to enable them to do so. I have no authority myself to interfere in the matter.