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Volume 245: debated on Thursday 20 November 1930

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asked the Minister of Health whether he will arrange to publish the monthly figures of admission to casual wards; and, if not, will he state whether the figures are obtainable by the public from some other source?

The returns furnished my Department do not show the number of admissions to casual wards, but the number of casuals in receipt of relief on each Friday night. The published quarterly statement of the number of persons in receipt of poor relief compares the number of casuals in receipt of relief on the Friday night preceding the last Saturday in the quarter with the number on the corresponding night for a series of years.

asked the Minister of Health the number of requests he has received from public assistance committees for permission to close casual wards; in how many cases has his sanction been given; whether any new casual wards are now being built and where; and whether the costs of such are being pooled?

The answers to the first and second parts of my hon. Friend's question are respectively 15 and 11; as regards the third part, my sanction is not now required to works which do not involve expenditure exceeding £1,000 or a loan, and I have not, therefore, full information readily available as to all the extensions and improvements in casual wards in England and Wales, but sanction to expenditure has been given on new or substantially enlarged wards at Burnley, East Stonehouse, Llandilo-fawr, Norwich, Reading and Sheffield; the pooling or otherwise of such expenditure is a matter for the discretion of the councils represented on the joint vagrancy committee concerned.

asked the Minister of Health whether he has received any requests for permission to adopt the dietary recommended in the Vagrancy Report; if so, from which committees; and whether he has had any recent requests for sanction to impose stone-breaking as a task?

In answer to the first and second parts of my hon. Friend's question, I have received one such request, from the Durham Joint Vagrancy Committee, and have sanctioned it. The answer to the third part of the question is in the negative.