HC Deb 04 March 1915 vol 70 cc956-8
32. Mr. HOGGE

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he calls for reports from local sanitary authorities as to the conditions of soldiers' billets; and whether he will make any special inspection of those districts where large numbers of men are billeted?


Last autumn the Local Government Board, after consultation with the War Office, issued circular letters to local authorities indicating the action which should be taken by the authorities and their officers to give assistance in connection with the sanitary condition of military quarters and other matters affecting the health of troops, including the systematic inspection of billets. I have received a number of reports from medical officers of health on camps and billets in their districts. Since the outbreak of the War my medical inspectors have visited camps and billets in all parts of the country, and have made inquiries with respect to their sanitary condition, and the action of local authorities and their officers in the matter. Up to the end of January about 550 such visits had been made. In addition to local representations by the inspectors, action has been taken on their reports by the Board in cases where this was necessary by means of communications with the War Office and the local authorities.


Has my right hon. Friend any report of cases in which soldiers themselves have got rid of mattresses by burning then on account of their insanitary condition?


I have not had brought to my notice any such report, but if the hon. Member can give me any particular case I shall be glad to investigate it.


Have the local authorities any power to enforce their suggestions?


I should like to have notice of that question.


Has the right hon. Gentleman received any complaints from the local authorities?


There, have been representations, which have been handed on to the War Office, but there has been no case of difficulty in providing a remedy in each case, so far as I am aware.


Is there any objection on the part of the military authorities to visits by the medical officers of health?


No, Sir. So far as I am aware the military authorities are most anxious to have the assistance both of the officers of the Local Government Board and of the local officers of health to secure the best sanitation of the camps and billets.

33. Mr. R. McNEILL

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether there are a number of workhouses not fully occupied at present; and whether he will take steps, by concentrating all the existing paupers in a limited number of workhouses and thus rendering as many as possible wholly vacant, to provide accommodation in workhouses for prisoners of war and thus obviate the necessity for spending public money in adapting and furnishing country mansions for that purpose?


For some time past the Local Government Board have been arranging, in co-operation with the boards of guardians and with the War Office, to render available as many Poor Law institutions as possible for military requirements. In the opinion of the military authorities, these institutions can be used with greater advantage for other purposes than for that suggested in the question.