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Mile End Local Government Inquiry

Volume 181: debated on Tuesday 20 August 1907

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To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that at the inquiry recently held at Mile End by one of the inspectors of the Local Government Board objection was taken to the legality of certain surcharges that formed the subject of the inquiry, on the ground that the audit had not been properly adjourned, and that such adjournment had not been proved, as required by Section 7 of the Poor Law Audit Act, 1848; and whether, seeing that the ultimate enforcement of these surcharges involves the liberty of the subject, he will undertake that during the recess the opinion of the Law Officers of the Crown shall be taken as to the validity of the proceedings of the auditor, and in the event of that opinion being against the validity of the auditor's action he will take immediate steps to declare these surcharges void. (Answered by Mr. John Burns.) I understand that at the inquiry a question has been raised as to the legality of the surcharges on the ground that the audit at which they were made had not been properly adjourned. At present the inquiry is not completed, and the inspector's Report has not been made. Until I receive it, I cannot say what course it will be right for me to take with reference to the point raised.