HC Deb 11 February 1908 vol 183 cc1515-6
MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)

To ask the President of the Local Government Board what were the number of deaths in 1907 in London upon which a coroner's jury returned a verdict of death from starvation, or death accelerated by privation; how many of these took place in Whitechapel; if he has not yet received the Home Office Returns as to these deaths, whether he will without delay obtain from the Whitechapel guardians or from the Poor Law inspector of the district the number of such deaths from starvation in Whitechapel in 1907; and whether he has conferred, or will confer, with the guardians of Whitechapel as to steps to prevent or diminish the number of such deaths.

(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I am not able to give the numbers for the year 1907. The usual Return has not at present been moved for, and I understand that consequently the necessary particulars have not yet been obtained by the Home Office from the coroners. I have communicated with the clerk to the Whitechapel guardians as to the occurrence in that union in 1907 of cases of the kind referred to, and I am informed that the medical superintendent of the infirmary has caused a search to be made and can find only one such case, viz., that of George Wright, who died on 25th July last, and in respect of whom the verdict of the coroner's jury was that he died from pneumonia accelerated by neglect and want of food. I will inquire as to the circumstances of this case, but I am not at present aware of any need for action of the kind suggested in the concluding part of the Question. In connection with this matter the character of the district and the large number of persons of migratory habits attracted thereto by free shelters and common lodging houses must be borne in mind.