HC Deb 17 March 1908 vol 186 cc415-6

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been directed to the case of Frederick William Brown, who was sentenced to twenty-one days imprisonment at the Blofield petty sessions on the 9th instant for arrears under a maintenance order with respect to his father; and whether as the evidence showed the man only earned 12s. a week, he will consider the advisability of restricting the practice of some boards of guardians of compelling men in poor circumstances to contribute to the relief of their aged parents under the Poor Law and the fixing of a wage-limit below which prosecutions shall not take place.


I am informed that in the case referred to the father is an inmate of the workhouse, and that he has three sons who are young and unmarried men. They are receiving the average agricultural wages payable in the union at the present time, viz., 12s. a week, but there is no reason to believe that they did not receive the extra payments usual for harvest and summer work, which bring up the average wages for the year to 14s. or 15s. a week. The guardians considered that they ought to contribute 1s. per week each to the maintenance of their father. The matter is one for the guardians and the justices, and I have no authority to interfere with regard to it. Legislation would be necessary to enable effect to be given to the suggestion of my hon. friend, but, as I have stated on other occasions, the question of contributions by relatives is before the Poor Law Commission, and, pending their Report, I do not propose to introduce legislation on the subject.