HC Deb 28 October 1908 vol 195 cc254-6
MR. SUMMERBELL (Sunderland)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been called to the recent death from starvation or privation of a Preston man; and whether he will cause an annual Return to be made of deaths in the provinces upon which a coroner's jury has returned a verdict of death from starvation, or death accelerated by privation, similar to that which is now made for London.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) No, Sir. I have no information as to the case in question, but I will see whether I can collect the figures for this year, and will consider whether an annual Return could be given with advantage.


To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether Charlotte Stokes, a widow, on whose behalf applications for relief were made to the relieving officer of Shoreditch on several occasions, beginning 5th February, 1907, and whose death from disease and starvation or destitution took place in the following October, was adequately relieved by the guardians of the poor of Shoreditch; whether, under the present laws relating to relief of poor, they might have given her medical attendance and sufficient food, and other necessaries of life, and, if needed, money for rent, as soon as she began to be ill; and, if so, will he inquire why the guardians did not give her necessary relief under 43 Eliz., c. 2, s. 1, and 4 and 5 Will. IV., c. 76.

(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) The relieving officer visited Mrs. Stokes on each occasion when application was made on her behalf for relief in February and March, 1907, and asked her to see the guardians, but no one attended. In April she herself applied to the relieving officer for relief, which was given to her. On 21st October she again applied for and received relief. The relieving officer visited the case the same day, but was informed she was out. It does not appear when she became ill, or that the attention of the relieving officer was called to her being so until 25th October, when he at once visited the home and found that she had just been removed to the infirmary. It would have been competent for the guardians to have given her all the relief mentioned in the Question when she became ill if the matter had been brought to their knowledge, but I do not understand that this was the case.


To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to the case of Julia Rothery, a widow, who died in Shoreditch, a few days ago from chronic kidney disease accelerated by poverty and neglect, without having applied for relief; will he say how many deaths declared by verdict of a coroner's jury to have resulted from starvation or to have been accelerated by privation have occurred in Shoreditch Union during the present year; whether he will suggest to the authorities of the Shoreditch Union, and of the borough council, and of the police in that district, that notices should be put up in their offices to which the public have access to the effect that poor persons who are ill and cannot pay for a doctor should apply to the relieving officers for medical relief; and will he suggest that such notices should contain the names and addresses of the relieving officers, and also a warning to parents of the penalties they may incur by neglecting to apply for a doctor in case of serious illness of a child.

(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I understand that application was made for the admission of Mrs. Rothery to the infirmary on 19th September, that she was forthwith admitted, and died there on the 19th instant. I am informed that there have been no deaths from starvation in Shoreditch during the present year, but that there have been three cases in which the coroner's jury have found that death was accelerated by privation. As I recently informed my hon. friend, there appears to be no reason to suppose that the poor are unaware of the facilities for obtaining medical or other relief, and I do not think that I could undertake to recommend to the authorities mentioned in the last part of the Question the adoption of the course there suggested.