HC Deb 10 November 1927 vol 210 cc341-4

asked the Minister of Health the number of able-bodied persons, together with their dependants, in receipt of Poor Law relief, institutional and outdoor, during each of the 12 months ending 31st October, 1927?

I.—NUMBER OF PERSONS (not being persons suffering from sickness, accident or bodily or mental infirmity and not being casuals) in receipt of institutional poor law relief in England and Wales.
Men. Women. Children. Total.
1st January, 37,493 18,366 42,699 98,558
1st January, 1927 40,343 18,702 42,206 101,251
Corresponding particulars for each month are not available.
II.—Average number, for each of the under-mentioned months, of the persons in receipt of outdoor poor law relief in money or kind in England and Wales who were classified, in returns made by the Guardians to the Minister of Health, as "persons ordinarily engaged in some regular occupation and dependent wives and children of those persons."
Month. Men. Women. Children. Total.
November, 1926 389,513 368,188 732,166 1,489,867
December, 1926 284,292 259,950 523,561 1,067,803
January, 1927 177,054 153,800 316,470 647,324
February 1927 159,451 137,201 283,489 580,141
March 1927 150,644 129,255 265,786 545,685
April 1927 141,311 121,874 251,204 514,389
May 1927 134,576 115,909 238,397 488,882
June 1927 133,460 114,726 236,568 484,754
July 1927 129,878 111,952 230,666 472,496
August 1927 130,376 112,810 233,802 476,988
September 1927 127,825 110,404 227,756 465,985
October 1927 Information not yet available.

asked the Minister of Health whether he has sent any circular to the relieving officers informing them that by virtue of Section 35 (1) of the Poor Law Act, 1927, they are now bound, in cases of either sudden or urgent necessity, to give such relief, otherwise than in money, as may be requisite, whether the applicant is resident or not in his district or in the union of which he is relieving officer; and, if not, will he issue such a circular?


No, Sir. The relieving officers are well aware of their duties, and I see no necessity for the

The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Chamberlain)

As the answer involves a number of figures, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

Figures based on a classification distinguishing "able-bodied persons" are not now obtained. The available information is set out below.

issue of a circular letter on this subject. I may add that I am advised that a relieving officer has no duty of acting outside the union to which he belongs, though in practice he would no doubt take any necessary steps to deal with a case of sudden or urgent necessity to which his attention was called.


asked the Minister of Health how many men, women, and children were accommodated in casual and vagrant wards in England and Wales during each of the 12 months ending 31st October, 1926; and the number for the same periods in 1927?


As the answer involves a number of figures I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the answer:

NUMBER of CASUALS in receipt of poor law relief in England and Wales on the last Friday of each of the undermentioned months:—
Month. Year 1925–26. Year 1926–27.
November 8,154 10,492
December 6,726 9,674
January 8,814 10,610
February 9,318 10,876
March 9,416 11,542
April 10,134 11,848
May 11,661 12,558
June 9,569 11,471
July 9,904 10,329
August 10,447 11,646
September 10,051 9,735
October 10,056 9,820*
* Total for the third Friday in October, 1927, the latest date for which figures are available.

All the above-mentioned persons (except about 100) were accommodated in Poor Law institutions. Particulars distinguishing men, women and children have not been furnished to me for any of the above dates, but the total for the 1st January, 1927 (the latest date for which such figures have been furnished), comprise 10,122 men, 538 women, and 77 children.


asked the Minister of Health what replies, if any, he has received from guardians of unions which comprise rural districts to his circular 7,650, asking the guardians to take into their special consideration the facilities available to the relieving officers for the discharge of the duties of the overseers with respect to relief in cases of sudden and urgent necessity and medical relief, and asking them to satisfy themselves that the arrangements made by them for this purpose are satisfactory and efficient; whether he will ask the guardians of such unions whether they have any villages or hamlets more than five miles from a relieving officer; and, if so, what provision, if any, they propose to make or would suggest to the Minister to authorise?


The circular to which the hon. Member refers did not call for replies from the guardians, and replies have not in fact been received. In one case it has been sugested that difficulty has arisen, and I am making inquiries into it. I do not think that there is any need for the general inquiries suggested in the latter part of the question.