HC Deb 06 April 1897 vol 48 c623

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, after a statement made by his predecessor, the right hon. Member for Wolverhampton, as to his intentions, and, as he thought, the intentions of Parliament, the Local Government Board intend to continue to act upon, the principle laid down by them in reference to applications from town councils, urban district councils, sanitary authorities, and representative bodies, to make orders conferring on them powers in relation to various matters mentioned in Section 33 of the Local Government Act 1894, namely, that the powers should not be conferred indiscriminately, and it has been our practice to ask for the reasons why such power is deemed desirable?


There has been no indisposition on the part of the Local Government Board to confer on the various bodies referred to by the right hon. Gentleman the powers mentioned in Section 33 of the Local Government Act 1894. But, inasmuch as the responsibility for conferring these powers was imposed by Parliament on the Local Government Board, it has hitherto been held that the Department should exercise some discretion in the matter, and not confer them indiscriminately as a matter of course. The number of cases that have been dealt with is very large. For instance, the power of appointing overseers has been given in 894 cases, and the power of appointing and revoking the appointment of assistant overseers in 750. The applications not disposed of are few, and with regard to these, after the explanation of the intentions of the Government, who were responsible for the Act which has been offered by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Wolverhampton, I shall be disposed to act generally on the views he then expressed in all cases in which it can properly be done consistently with the discretionary power vested in the Board by Parliament.