HC Deb 03 April 1905 vol 144 cc128-9
SIR JOHN GORST (Cambridge University)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether it is not the duty of a relieving officer, in case a teacher informs him that a child under such teacher's care is destitute of necessary food, to inquire into the case, and if the relieving officer finds the statement to be correct to give the necessary relief; whether the Local Government Board did not, in 1896, issue to relieving officers extracts from the general Orders issued by the Board and its predecessors relating to the duties of such officers; whether such extracts contained any information, and, if so, what, as to their duties with regard to children destitute of necessary food on whose behalf teachers made application for relief; and if they did not contain such information would he either cause the circular containing such to be issued or indicate in what book, accessible to relieving officers, it can be found.


The Orders provide that it shall be the duty of a relieving officer to receive al1 applications for relief made to him within his district or relating to any parish within his district, and forthwith to examine into the circumstances of every case by visiting the home and making all necessary inquiries, and to report the result of such inquiries to the guardians at their next ordinary meeting. The Orders also provide that it shall be his duty in every case of sudden or urgent necessity to afford such relief to the destitute person, as may be requisite, provided that the same be not given in money. It would be incumbent on a relieving officer to act in accordance with these requirements if application were made to him by a teacher for relief to a child under the teacher's care who was destitute of necessary food. The extracts from the Orders issued to relieving officers in 1896 contained the provisions to which I have alluded; but the Orders do not refer specifically to cases of the kind mentioned in the Question. My hon. friend the Secretary to the Board of Education and I have been in communication with regard to such cases, and I am now considering whether any further steps should be taken in connection with them and a circular be issued on the subject.

MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil

Will the Department also consider the advisability of recommending boards of guardians to make grants to education authorities to meet these cases?


Order, order! That hardly arises out of the Question on the Paper.


Will steps be taken to secure that parents able to pay are either compelled to do so or made paupers?


That is one of the matters under consideration.