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Out-Relief In Halifax

Volume 180: debated on Thursday 15 August 1907

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To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been called to a statement by Mr. P. H. Bagenal, Local Government Board inspector, that the amount of out-relief in Halifax was too high, and that it ought to be reduced; whether Mr. Bagenal intended to refer to outdoor relief to the sick who were unable to pay for necessary medical attendance and other necessaries for their condition, to the deserving aged poor, and to widows with a dependent child or children whom they were bringing up respectably but were unable to support without Poor Law help; whether he had himself visited the homes of the poor in Halifax before making the above statement and suggestion; whether in the appendix to the 35th Annual Report of the Local Government Board there were any other reports of inspectors other than Mr. Hervey and Mr. P. Bagenal, in which the cost of in-maintenance was by mistake stated as the cost of in-relief; and whether any books or papers laid by the Local Government Board or its inspector before the Poor Law Commission had the same or a similar mistake. (Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I have seen a newspaper paragraph on the subject referred to in the first part of the Question. Mr. Bagenal informs me that, when he addressed the Halifax Guardians he referred to the total amount spent on outdoor relief generally in their union as compared with that in some other unions. He made no specific allusion to the particular classes mentioned in the Question, nor had he visited the homes of the poor in Halifax. His object was to induce the guardians to make some alterations in their method of administering relief and to increase their staff of relieving officers. The term "indoor relief," or "in-relief," is not used as synonymous with "in-maintenance" in the reports of the other inspectors referred to in the latter part of the Question. I am not aware that it has been so treated in any books or papers laid before the Poor Law Commission by officers of the department, but I have no complete information on this point.