HL Deb 10 August 1905 vol 151 cc899-901

Order of the Day for the Third Reading read.

Moved, "That the Bill be now read 3a."—(The Marquess of Lansdowne.)


My Lords, before the Bill is read a third time I should like to ask the noble Marquess a Question of which I have given him notice, but, I am afraid, rather insufficient notice, although I think the Question is one which will not be difficult to answer. The Bill as put before us is experimental. There are in it conditions under which assistance may be given to those who are considered proper objects of that assistance, and those conditions were, as your Lordships know, the subject of a certain amount of criticism last night. The main Answer to the objections or criticisms then made was that, after all, the local authorities were not altogether foolish, and must to a considerable extent be trusted.

The Question I want to put is this Can the noble Marquess assure us that in the regulations to be framed by the Local Government Board, there will be adequate instructions to the local authorities that they are to keep sufficient records of the cases that come before them and of the method in which they dispose of them, so that this experiment may be judged by those who take an interest in the matter, upon the actual experience of the local authorities? Everything will depend, if that judgment is to be a useful one, on the adequacy of the information which is provided for us in the records of these local authorities. This seems to me a reasonable request, and I hope we shall have an assurance from the noble Marquess that the regulations will make sufficient provision for this information being kept in a complete form.


My Lords, I think the point which my noble friend raises is to some extent met by Sub-section 3, paragraph "l"of Clause 4. It is there laid down that the Local Government Board may make regulations for requiring returns to be made to the Board by any body or committee having powers under this Act. It seem to me, irrespective of that, that these local bodies—the distress committees and the central bodies—must, if their business is carried on on businesslike lines, keep records of the manner in which they dispose of the cases which come before them; and I have no doubt that those records will, as my noble friend suggests, be considered by the Local Government Board with a view to enabling them to form an opinion as to the success of the experiment which will be carried out under this Bill.

On Question, Motion agreed to; Bill read 3a, and passed.