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Poor Law—Out-Door Relief—Case Of Charlotte Hammond

Volume 229: debated on Monday 29 May 1876

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asked the President of the Local Government Board, If his attention has been called to the death of Charlotte Hammond in Westminster from starvation, and to the verdict of the jury on the inquest; and, further, to ask if, considering that the Poor Law Amendment Bill is now in Committee, he will not consider the advisability of introducing a Clause which shall give the guardians greater power to deal with such cases in the way of out-door relief?

Sir, my attention was called to the case of Charlotte Hammond by the statements which appeared in the newspapers on Friday last, and I immediately directed a communication to be addressed to the Guardians asking whether they had investigated the circumstances, and, if so, with what result. This morning I have received a deputation from the Guardians asking that an inquiry may be made under the provisions of the Poor Law. To this, of course, there can be no objection if it should appear to be necessary; but, in order to determine on the exact course to be taken, I have applied to the coroner for a copy of the depositions. In reference to the suggestion of my hon. Friend, I have to inform him that no amendment of the law is necessary to enable the Guardians to deal with cases of this kind. There is no order of the Local Government Board prohibiting out-door relief in St. George's Union, and the Guardians have ample powers for dealing with such cases as the one in question. The only condition that applies to such relief being given, is that if given to able-bodied persons they must require work to be done.