HC Deb 19 February 1900 vol 79 cc380-1
MR. HAZELL () Leicester

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to an inquest held before Mr. Troutbeck at the St. Clement Danes Vestry Hall on 4th October last upon the body of Mrs. Esther Terry, aged sixty-four; whether he is aware that a day before her death she applied for admission to the Strand Union workhouse, and was told by an assistant clerk that as she had been passed for relief in the parish of Lambeth within the year, she would be liable for prosecution if she accepted relief in the Strand Union; and that at the time she was very ill and physically unable to reach Lambeth, and ought to have been at once admitted to the Strand workhouse; whether the clerk acted in accordance with the regulations of the Local Government Board in the matter; and, what steps will be taken to prevent similar refusals of help to the sick poor in future.


The Local Government Board communicated with the guardians of the Strand Union with regard to this case in October last. The facts appear to be as stated in the question, except that the woman made no complaint of illness at the time of her application for relief; she said that she would return to Lambeth and apply for relief in that parish. The guardians state that if she had complained that she was ill her case would have been dealt with immediately without any question as to her place of settlement being considered. In accordance with the practice which prevailed in this union, however, when she applied for relief at the office of the relieving officer, she was in the first instance referred to the clerk, whoso office was in the same building, for inquiry as to her settlement. Had she afterwards returned to the relieving officer an order for her admission to the workhouse would, it is seated, have been given at once. The Board have pointed out to the guardians that the custom of referring applicants for relief to the clerk for inquiries as to their settlement before giving relief is open to serious objection, and that it is the duty of the relieving officer to secure that applicants shall receive as promptly as possible the relief they require; and the guardians in reply have intimated that the practice complained of will be discontinued.