HC Deb 14 December 1908 vol 198 cc1258-9

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that on 24th September last, in Volume 10, Clause 6, page 427, of the House Committee's Report of the West Ham Board of Guardians, the committee passed and submitted to the next board meeting a resolution directing the clerk to instruct relieving officers to give men who were frequently in and out of the workhouse orders for the casual Wards instead of house orders, and that only on the advice of the clerk was this direction withdrawn; whether he is aware that at the house committee's call-over on alternate Thursdays men are informed that the House is not the place for single men and that they must look for work, and if they remained in the House, they would be dealt with, and this notwithstanding that the men had no employment to go to and no means to maintain themselves, the following being instances: A. Sharp, Who said he had nowhere to go, and T. Hammaford, who had nowhere to go, no food, and no place in which to sleep, and who asked if he was to start stealing if he went out of the house; and if the President proposes to take any action in connection with these matters.


As regards the first part of the Question, the facts are as stated. As regards the second, I understand that, owing to the demands on the available accommodation in the workhouse for the sick, and for the old and infirm inmates, single men are informed, when they attend before the house committee of the guardians, that the workhouse is not the place for them, and that they should look for work, but no undue pressure is brought to bear upon them to leave the institution. With respect to the two cases mentioned in the Question, I am informed that Sharp is an able-bodied man, twenty-seven years of age, who was admitted to the workhouse on 20th October, partly on account of an injury to his knee. He took his discharge on 6th November last. The other case is that of an able-bodied man, twenty-three years of age, who during the present year has been admitted to and discharged from the workhouse on nine occasions, his stay in the establishment varying from six to eighteen days.