§ Mr. JAMES PARKER (for Mr. George Roberts)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he is aware that in the city of Liverpool there are arrears of from £5 to £50 for ordinary industrial and reformatory school fees outstanding against casual labourers, whose incomes in some cases are as low as 15s. per week; and whether he will consider the advisability of such arrears being revised with the object of relieving these men of the penalty of being sent to gaol periodically on warrants issued by the police for such arrears?
§ Mr. GLADSTONE
It is the practice of the Reformatory and Industrial Schools Department, in dealing with parental contributions, not to take proceedings against parents except where the failure to pay is due to wilful neglect. Arrears, therefore, sometimes accumulate, but never to such an amount as £50. The lists of parents in arrear are examined quarterly, and all proper cases submitted to me for remission; and at the end of last year I remitted the arrears in no less than 300 Liverpool cases. The hon. Member may rest assured that the enforcement of parental responsibility, which is under the control of the Chief Inspector of Reformatory and Industrial Schools, is conducted with fairness and discrimination, and that any case of apparent harshness brought to his notice is most carefully considered.
§ Mr. CROOKS
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that at this moment there is a man in prison for not paying 1s. a week, who was out of employment when the man was committed.
§ Mr. GLADSTONE
That may be so, I agree, but that it not necessarily included in the question. If my hon. Friend wishes to draw attention to the case I shall be glad to look into it.