HC Deb 06 June 1907 vol 175 cc826-7

To ask the President of the Local Government Board if he is aware that the inspector of Poor Law District No. 3 has recently issued to the Boards of Guardians in his district a paper headed, Table showing the number of paupers on 1st January 1897 and 1907, and the expenditure upon relief for the year ended Michaelmas 1906, and that instead of showing the expenditure on relief it only shows the expenditure on the two items, out-relief and in-maintenance, and omits altogether the salaries, rations, and superannuations of the officers and servants, principal of loans repaid arid interest thereon, cost of furniture, repairs to building and furniture, and some other items of the cost of relief; if so, will he state what is the expenditure on the omitted items for the Birmingham Union in the above district; whether it has been usual for the Poor Law inspector's half-yearly returns to make the same omissions as the above-mentioned return does; and whether the President will, in future, either arrange that these returns shall give the true cost of relief or discontinue them altogether.

(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I have seen the table referred to, which I understand is in the form which the inspector has been accustomed to use. It is intended to give particulars as to the cost of the maintenance of indoor paupers and of outdoor relief, and not the total expenditure of the guardians as a poor law authority. The expenditure of the guardians of the parish of Birmingham in respect of all poor law purposes in the year ended at Michaelmas 1906 was as follows: —

Maintenance of indoor paupers 42,393
Outdoor relief 7,151
Maintenance of lunatics in asylums, etc. 28,169
Salaries, etc., and superannuation allowances of officers and servants 33,436
Principal of loans and interest thereon 14,491
Other expenditure connected with the relief of the poor 15,141

Some of this information was not in the possession of the inspector at the time the table was issued, and it will be observed that much of the expenditure shown is not of a character which can be controlled by the present guardians. Provided that it is understood that, as regards expenditure, the table only gives particulars relative to the maintenance of indoor paupers and out-relief, I see no objection to it. It may be well that the heading of the table should be so framed as to leave no possible room for doubt as to the nature of its contents, and I will communicate with the inspector on his Point.