HC Deb 24 April 1928 vol 216 cc817-8W

asked the Minister of Health whether any instructions have been given to Government auditors to lay down scales of relief which boards of guardians must adopt, and which if departed from by any board will render such boards of guardians liable to surcharge?


The answer is in the negative.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that the number of persons in receipt of Poor Law relief is 15 per 1,000 more in Scotland than in England and Wales; and whether he is now in a position to give the results of the Scottish Board of Health's investigation into the causes of the growing disparity between the figures for the two countries?


Inquiries have now been made by the Scottish Board of Health in regard to the disparity in the pauperism rates in England and Scotland respectively. From these inquiries it would appear that in the main the higher rate of Scottish pauperism is the direct result of the heavier incidence of unemployment in Scotland in past years. The rate of unemployment in the two countries is now almost equal, and it is expected that the disparity in the pauperism figures will gradually diminish. The inquiries would also appear to show that, in administering relict to the able-bodied, Scottish parish councils are handicapped by the absence of sufficient powers of testing the bona fides of applicants, e.g., by the imposition of a work test such as obtains in England, and that, if the councils were vested with further powers of the nature indicated, they would be better able to eliminate doubtful cases and thus reduce pauperism figures.