HL Deb 22 August 1831 vol 6 cc379-80

The Duke of Richmond moved the second reading of this Bill, which, he observed, was a measure for more effectually providing employment for the poor. It was not necessary for him on this occasion to trouble their Lordships with more than a few remarks. From the evidence before a Committee which sat on this subject, it appeared, that in many parts of the country a large portion of the labouring poor were thrown out of employment for a considerable part of the year. On those occasions they applied to the Overseers of their respective parishes, who sent them to work on the roads, where, in fact, no work was required. Now his object was, to enable Overseers to provide those parties with employment, which would enable them to maintain themselves with less expense to the parish. For this purpose it was his intention to extend the twelfth clause of the 59th George 3rd., by which Overseers were empowered to take leases of lands for the employment of the poor. He wished to allow them to take larger quantities of land for that purpose. There was also a clause, the 27th of the 22nd George 3rd., chapter 83, by which Overseers were allowed to enclose commons, with the consent of the Lord of the Manor, to the extent of ten acres. He proposed to give them permission to do so to the extent of fifty acres. He meant to give also the same power to Guardians of the poor as that law vested in the Overseers. Another clause would provide to lands hired under this Act, and a third would prevent any person holding such land from gaining a settlement by means of it. He did not wish to raise expectations by the Bill, but he had reason to believe that it would do some good. He did not hope that it would cure the evils of the Poor-laws, but at least it would prove to the labouring poor, that the Legislature was not inattentive to the improvement of their condition. Bill read a second time.