§ MR. O'GRADY (Leeds, E.)
To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the case of Mrs. Gould who, being destitute and starving, applied to a relieving officer of the Birmingham Poor Law Union for relief, which being refused she attempted to destroy her life; whether inquiries have been made into this case, and with what result; and whether instructions will be issued to relieving officers that in all cases of female applicants for relief immediate inquiries should be made so that the necessities of such applicants may be met.
(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) My attention was called to this case, and I caused inquiry to be made with regard to it. I found that a committee of the guardians had carefully investigated the matter, and that they had censured the relieving officer for not having brought the case before them previously. It is the duty of a relieving officer on receipt of an application for relief forthwith to examine into the circumstances of the case and I do not understand that there was any failure on the part of the relieving officer in this respect in the present case. I may add that the officer does not admit that he refused relief to the woman, and in fact she was in receipt of it at the time of the attempted suicide. Moreover, the income of herself and family seems to have been understated by her.