§ SIR JOHN MACLURE (Lancs., Stretford)
I beg to ask the Chief Secretary to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland (1) whether the amount of relief given under the present scheme in the county of Mayo by the Boards of Guardians practically amounts to under 2d. a day per head for the individuals relieved; (2) and whether, in this relief, the head of the family is compelled to do work which is only imposed on able-bodied men in England who are known to be capable of earning their living if they would do so?
§ MR. GERALD BALFOUR
The maximum amount of outdoor relief authorised to be given by Boards of Guardians to persons engaged on the works organised as labour tests is six shillings a week, and this would work out at the figure stated in the first paragraph, on the assumption that a family represented on the works by one of its members consists of five persons. The current rate of wages for labourers in the distressed districts in ordinary years would be about seven shillings a week. In order to secure that only those who are actually in need of relief are afforded it at the expense of the Government and ratepayers, a task of work is required for one member of every family in all cases in which the Guardians wish to obtain the Government contribution. The relief afforded to these people in return for their labour is not intended to represent the wages which might be earned by an able-bodied man working on his own account, but is only supposed to enable him to procure the necessaries of life for himself and those dependent upon him, and thus prevent the family from coming into the workhouse. The granting of the relief is not contingent on everyone performing a task of work which would be done by an able-bodied man, and no one is taxed above his physical ability.
§ MR. DILLON
Will the right hon. Gentleman say if, in the case of a family in which there is no able bodied man or woman, whether old or young are compelled to do the work?