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Poor Law

Volume 236: debated on Thursday 6 March 1930

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Relief

56.

asked the Minister of Health the total amount of money paid for outdoor relief in Great Britain and Northern Ireland?

The total cost of outdoor Poor Law relief in England and Wales during the financial year ended 31st March, 1929, amounted to £15,499,129, including £13,470,845 out-relief given in money and kind. With regard to Scotland, my hon. Friend should address a question to the Secretary of State for Scotland. As regards Northern Ireland, this service is administered by the Government of Northern Ireland, and I have no information on the subject.

Can my right hon. Friend give the figures at some future date with regard to the amount paid in Northern Ireland?

Could the right hon. Gentleman tell us whether these figures have been increased since the Government took office?

57.

asked the Minister of Health the total amount of money paid for indoor relief in Great Britain and Northern Ireland for the year ending 1929?

The total cost of indoor Poor Law relief in England and Wales during the financial year ended 31st March, 1929, amounted to £23,406,692, including £6,230,043 in respect of the maintenance of lunatics in county and borough asylums. With regard to Scotland, my hon. Friend should address a question to the Secretary of State for Scotland. As regards Northern Ireland, this service is administered by the Government of Northern Ireland and I have not information on the subject.

St Pancras Institution (Vaccination)

65.

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that on 20th February over 400 pauper inmates of the St. Pancras workhouse were vaccinated without being asked for their consent; that the majority of these people believed that the reason for stripping to the waist was for examination purposes only and had no idea that it was for vaccination until they were actually vaccinated; that the few men who successfully resisted this attempt to vaccinate them have had their leave stopped; that no objection was raised to the men taking their discharge but only to their having leave; that Mr. L. L. Ross left the house on 22nd February and returned at 7 p.m. with a new order of admission and was told at the receiving ward that he must either agree to be vaccinated or get outside; that he refused to be vaccinated and demanded an order from the master in writing that vaccination was compulsory before he would agree to leave; that after an interview with the assistant master Boss was admitted 50 minutes after his arrival; that two men were refused admission on 21st February at 5.30 p.m. after presenting their orders; and whether he will point out to the St. Pancras workhouse authorities that they have no right to make vaccination a condition of admission to the workhouse?

On 20th February a male inmate was found to have been suffering from small-pox for three or four days and, since he had been in contact freely with other inmates, it was considered advisable to examine medically all the men in the institution. Opportunity was taken of advising the men to be vaccinated but it was made clear that any who objected were at liberty to refuse. A number of men in fact refused, but no leave has been stopped on this account. As regards Mr. Ross, the facts are substantially as stated. The delay in re-admitting him was due to a misunderstanding, which was rectified as soon as it was brought to the notice of the assistant master, and steps have been taken to prevent a recurrence of the difficulty. There is no record of two men being refused admission on 21st February. The duty of a Poor Law authority to relieve destitution would not be affected by a refusal of the applicant to be vaccinated, but in certain circumstances it might be quite proper that relief should not be given in a particular institution.

Test Work

67.

asked the Minister of Health if he has now considered the Returns which have been made as the result of the special inquiry he set up into test work in November last; and when will he be in a position to make a statement?

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why he persistently refuses to make a statement upon a subject on which he was very voluble when in opposition?

If a question is put down next week, will the right hon. Gentleman be able to give an answer?

Certainly I will give an answer, but I will not say that it will be satisfactory.

Does not the right hon. Gentleman think that continual repetition of the same answer will lead the House to think that he is an automatic machine?