HL Deb 25 July 1898 vol 62 cc1038-40

I wish to ask the noble and learned Lord a Question of which I have given private notice. The sanitary expenses in rural districts are spread entirely over the whole district. I want to know whether that affects the question of the Labourers' Cottage Act. I would point out that the Labourers' Cottage Act has been controlled by the boards of guardians, and I should like to know whether the charge now is to be to the electoral division or to the whole union. I believe in a very few instances the expenses of the Labourers' Cottage Act have been put upon the whole union at large, and I believe that it has proved very unsatisfactory, and that a great many abuses have arisen under it. My experience of the working of the Labourers' Cottage Act is that, when the expense is placed upon the electoral division, the work of the Act is much more narrowly watched. There are several divisions in most of the unions where labourers' cottages are built, event when ample accommodation exists. The object of the Act was to build in small and unsupplied districts, and to give allotments of land where there were no facilities before. I would remind the noble and learned Lord that this is not a question of union rating or of outdoor relief. Any expense incurred in outdoor relief can have its effects removed during the next financial year, but a cottage once built remains there forever. I press this point upon the consideration of the noble and learned Lord from the point of view that it is not cottages that are wanted in Ireland so much as land. The people of Ireland are not so anxious to obtain cottages as to get allotments of land, and I am sure that the power now possessed may be open to abuse, especially at the expense of the larger ratepayers. I have very seriously considered whether I ought not to put down an Amendment on this subject; at any rate, I should like the opinion of the noble and learned Lord.


In a long Bill of this kind it is impossible to take a particular clause without collating it with other clauses in the Bill, and if the noble Lord will look at the last paragraph of clause 56 he will find a reference which I shall be glad to speak to him about, which clears the matter up. He will find that the charge for the Labourers' Cottage Act comes out of the union charges, and that if it were not so it would be a loss, because we could not get any benefit out of the agricultural grant This is part of a large question, and I shall be happy to go into the matter more in detail if the noble Lord so wishes.

Motion made, and question put— That clause 43 stand part of the BiLL

Agreed to.