§ MR. CLAUDE HAY
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he will state the grounds upon which he has refused to allow the Lambeth Board of Guardians to purchase certain lands upon which to establish a farm colony, and for other purposes, in order to relieve the overcrowded state of the workhouse.
§ MR. JOHN BURNS
The area of the land which was proposed to be purchased is 567 acres. It is situated fifty miles from the parish of Lambeth and the price asked for it was £12,000. In a letter which I caused to be addressed to the guardians on 27th January last, it was pointed out that in addition to certain objections which had been previously indicated (viz., those arising from the size of the farm, and its distance from the parish), no evidence had been produced to show that the guardians had any definite scheme for using the land, or as to the number and classes of the persons to be sent there, and the means for classifying them according to sex, age, and condition. It was also pointed out that it would ultimately be necessary to provide extensive accommodation, including administrative buildings, and the appointment of an adequate staff of officers and servants, and that the history of experiments similar to that contemplated did not appear to warrant the assumption that the proposal would be likely to be attended with such a measure of success as would justify the large expenditure involved. It was added that the guardians would have no power to detain on the farm men who, accustomed to a town life, would probably frequently avail themselves of their right to take their discharge, and return to their old surroundings. It was for these reasons that it appeared to me that the proposal was one which I could not properly entertain.
§ MR. KEIR HARDIE (Merthyr Tydvil)
Does the £12,000 represent the cost of the land only, or does it include the cost of establishing the colony?