HL Deb 30 April 1833 vol 17 cc751-2
The Earl of Winchilsea

begged to ask his noble friend when it was his intention to move the Second Reading of the Labour Rate Bill? In putting that question he wished to point out, that as regarded the proportion of Poor-rates which entitled parishes to bring themselves within the operation of the Act of last Session, that Act was defective. He could state, having been engaged in two counties in carrying the measure of last Session into effect, that several parishes were anxious to avail themselves of the benefit of the Act; but on account of the Poor-rates in those parishes being below the proportionate sum specified in the Act, they could not. In some instances, parishes had actually thrown persons on the Poor-rates for the purpose of bringing the parishes under the operation of the Act, by raising the rate, when these persons ought to have been supported by payments out of the Highway-rate. At the same time the Act had had a most beneficial effect. It had checked the demoralizing system of persons throwing themselves upon the Poor-rates for relief, and been productive of improved feelings in the minds of the labourers. It had also given great satisfaction to a large body of people wherever the plan had been carried into operation. In looking to the Amendment proposed by his noble friend, he observed that the surplus money was to be paid over into the hands of the overseers, to be applied to the general use of the poor; but if he might take the liberty, he would suggest to his noble friend that the money raised should be kept distinct from any assessment for the relief of the poor; and the surplus should be available for the relief of unemployed labourers only.

Lord Suffield

could confirm the statement of the noble Earl, that the inconvenience in consequence of the rate entitling parishes to take advantage of this Act being fixed too high, was very great. Complaints had been made to him by several parishes in the county with which he was connected on this subject; and he had been desired, when the proper time should arrive, to propose an Amendment in that part of the Bill. As regarded the measure itself, there was no doubt but that it had been beneficial.

The Duke of Richmond

had at the request of a right Reverend Prelate (the Bishop of London) deferred the Second Reading of this Bill until the Report of the Poor Laws Commission should be received. That Report would probably be made in the course of a fortnight or three weeks. He assured his noble friend that he was very anxious that the measure should be as effective as possible. He must, however, object to the Bill being called a "Labour-Rate Bill;" for, in fact, there was not one word in it which could justify such a designation.

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