HC Deb 29 April 1926 vol 194 cc2188-9
29. Mr. VIANT

asked the Minister of Health if he is prepared to institute an inquiry as to the prevalence of vagrancy in view of the closing of vagrant wards during the War and the difficulty of boards of guardians with regard to accommodation and the expense of enlarging wards; and, as this is a national question, whether such an inquiry will precede the reform of the Poor Law?


From the information available, it would appear that the numbers of vagrants are at a lower level than was generally the case in the years before the War, and I do not think that there is any ground for such special inquiry as the hon. Member suggests. I may remind him that a survey of casual wards was undertaken and the results published in 1924, and a new Order made, which came into force last year.


I would like to ask the right hon. Gentleman if it is not possible that there could be some provision here. For instance, only yesterday there were a man and a woman who arrived here with five children. They walked all the way from Scotland, and they were right up against it, starving. They had nowhere to go, the eldest of those children was 10 years of age, and we had nowhere to put them. Is there nothing that the Minister of Health—because this is a question of health, and it is human beings we are dealing with—




Clearly the Minister cannot answer a question of that sort without notice. Will the hon. Member please put it on the Paper?


Is there not congestion in some casual wards owing to the Minister's Order imposing two days' detention, which has been observed by some guardians and not by others?


That again, I think, should be put on the Paper.