§ MR. COOPER (Southwark, Bermondsey)
To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been directed to the. recommendation now before the council of the metropolitan borough of Hampstead to expend £192 in furnishing a robing room in the town hall for the mayor; Whether this council recently refused to increase the wages of its dustmen, amounting to £162, because the rates of Hampstead are 7s. 2d. in the pound; whether any application has been made by this council to his Board for a grant to help the unemployed in this borough; whether the sanction 1651 of the Local Government Board has to be obtained before expending this sum of money on a robing room; and, if so, will he consider the advisability of refusing to sanction it.
(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I understand that a recommendation was made to the borough council by their works committee, to the effect that a sum of £192 should be spent in adapting and furnishing the existing robing room for use as a mayor's parlour, but that the council referred the matter back to the committee, who now recommend that a sum of £10 should be spent on doing up the robing room. This recommendation will come before the council at their meeting to-day. No sanction on the part of the Local Government Board to the expenditure is necessary. I am informed that the wages of the whole of the staff of the borough council are considered by the council in January of each year, that in 1906 the wages of the dustmen were increased and that no proposal to increase their wages has been before the council since that date. I understand that the borough council are expending a sum of about £3,300 upon work for the unemployed. No application has been made to me for a payment from the grant in respect of this work. The cost is being defrayed by the borough council themselves.