HC Deb 11 July 1906 vol 160 cc877-8
MR. SPICER (Hackney, Central)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Hoard if his attention has been drawn to the fact that the Poor Law children of the Staines Union have been for some years, and were this year, allowed to stand at the union gates during Ascot week with the avowed object of obtaining alms from visitors to the races; and whether he can do anything to discourage this practice.


I have made inquiry on this subject, and am informed that many years ago the children were allowed to stand at the workhouse gates to see the visitors going to and returning from Ascot, and that they have continued to be permitted to do so, not for begging purposes, but as a treat and a break in their lives. Some of the people throw them money, and this is spent on an outing for the children at the Crystal Palace or elsewhere. The matter is one which is entirely within the discretion of the guardians.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that one of the guardians offered—in the event of the practice being discontinued—to make up the sum usually contributed so that the children should not be deprived of their treat?


Yes, but on the other hand it was thought that perhaps the sight of these innocent happy children might induce some of the passers-by to see the error of their ways.