HC Deb 20 February 1918 vol 103 cc760-1W
Major Sir C. HUNTER

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether he has observed that the recent Report on the Transfer of the Functions of Poor Law Authorities in England and Wales proposes that the Poor Law Act of 1603 and the amending Act of.1834, which together impose upon the guardians of the poor the duty of giving necessary relief to the necessitous, shall be repealed, and that it makes no provision for imposing this duty of relief on the councils or committees which it proposes to substitute for the guardians; whether this destruction of the obligation to relieve and of the corresponding right of the necessitous to relief given by these Statutes (see judgments of the Court of Appeal in the Merthyr Tydvil case, Law Reports, 1900, Chancery Appeals, 516), has his sanction; and, if not, will he, while President of the Local Government Board, abstain from introducing or supporting any Bill involving the destruction or reduction of the right of the necessitous to relief?


It is not correct to say that the Committee proposed that the Act of Elizabeth and the Act of 1834 should be repealed. In paragraph 15 of this Report the Committee said that in view of the prejudice against the Poor Law "it may be preferable to confer all necessary powers on the Home Assistance Committee by new legislation." The Report recommends certain large changes in the administration of relief to the necessitous. My hon. Friend may rest assured that before any Bill to give effect to these recommendations is introduced the whole subject will receive careful consideration.