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Outlines of Local GovernmentI

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Outlines of Local Government I I II .-AREAS AND AUTHORITIES. I (ii.) County Districts (Urban and Rural). Historical. For purposes of pcor-law administration, Unions were established throughout the coun- try by the Poor Law Amendment Act, 1834, an.1 placed under the control of Boards of Guardians. The principle 'upon which the Commissioners proceeded in planning out the areas of the various Unions was to take a market town as a centre, and to unite it to the surrounding parishes. Hence it :s not sur- prising that in many cases the area of the Union crossed county boundaries. For purposes of sanitary administration, England was divided into Sanitary Districts (urban and rural) by the Public Health Act of 1872. Under this Act the Guardians were the sanitary authority in rural districts in urban districts general sanitary powers had already been given to the Town Council, the Improvement Act Commissioners, or the Local Board of Health, according to the general mode of government ia the district. The rural districts were framed on the lines of existing Union areas, but without reference to County boundaries. The Local Government Act, 1894, re- arranged the existing sanitary districts, with the object of bringing each district wholly into one county (i.e., of making them "county districts") Such part of the areas of a Union as lay outside all urban districts and inside one county became a rural (county) district; where the rural portion of a Union are-i lay partly within one county and partly within another, the part which lay within each county became a separate rural (county) dis- trict. It will be seen that a Union may easily comprise several county districts. Thus its area may include: (a) A single rural or urban district (b) One or more urban districts, with or without a single rural district; or (c) Two or more rural districts, with or without urban districts, lying within different counties. In rural districts the District Councillors are the Guardians, though the two capacities are quite distinct. In urban districts the Coun- cillors and the Guardians are elected sepa- rately, and the Council and the Board are distinct in every respect. Where a Union area comprises both Urban and Rural Dis- tricts, the former elect Guardians to act in conjunction with the District Councillors, who act as Guardians for the latter; but when the Board of Guardians acts in its capacity as a District Council, it is the duty of the urban representative to retire. Constitution of a District Council. I A District Council (Urban or Rural) is a corporate body with perpetual succession and a common seal, and may hold land for the purposes of its powers and duties without licence in mortmain. The number of Councillors in any District Council varies with the size and the popu- lation of the district but there must be at least one member for every constituent parish that has a population of not less than 300. The Councillors are unpaid. They are now ail elected by the parishes; there are no ex- officio or nominated members. A District Councillor holds office for three years. As a rule, one-third of the members of a Council retire on the 15th of April in each year. Councillors must be Local Government electors or resident for at least twelve months in the case of: (a) Urban District, within the district; I (b) Rural District, within the Union of I which the district forms a part. Women, married or single, are eligible. Nol property qualification is now requisite. The electors are the parochial electors. In urban districts the Councillors are either elected Ly the district as a whole, or, where the district is divided into wards, by the separate wards. The election is conducted under rules made by the Local Goveinment Board. Each can- didate for election must be nominated in writing. The Clerk to the District Council is I the returning officer. A candidate will be disqualified if he is an infant or an alien, or has within twelve months been in receipt of parish relief, or has within five years been convicted or adjudged bankrupt; or is in- terested in certain contracts with the Council. The Chairman of a District Council may be elected from outside the Councillors, and, unless a woman or personally disqualified by any Act, shall be by virtue of his office a justice of the PeAce4f,6i the county. Powers and Duties of District Councils. Duties may be divided under three heads, viz.:â (1) Duties Common to Urban and Rural District Councils, viz.:â (a) Public Health functions under various enactments. In. rural districts sanitary pro- blems are for the most part less pressing than in thickly-populated towns; consequently, the normal powers of the rural authority are much Ie's extensive than those of its urban kinsmen. Speaking broadly, a Rural District Council has much the same powers as an Urban Dis- trict Council in respect of sewerage and drainage, and the inspection and abatement of nuisances. It has larger powers as regards water supply. It is bound to see that every house in its district is properly supplied with water. It has not the powers of an urban authority in respect of lighting, highways, streets, public baths, or recreation grounds. The Local Government Board may, however, confer on a Rural District Council all or any of the powers of an urban authority upon the application of a Rural District Council or of the ratepayers representing one-tenth in value ef the rateable property of the district. (b) Highway Powers, to be treated in detail under Section IX. (c) Housing and Town Planning Act. A great consolidating Statute of the year 1890 has collected together the scattered provisions of the law upon the vari-ous subjects included under this head. The general result may be said to be that the sanitary authority is in every case the body entrusted with the execu- tion of the provisions of the Statute applicable to its area. Sanitary authorities have powers to inspect insanitary houses, to demolish obstructive buildings, to improve unhealthy areas, to buy or build lodging-houses for the working-classes," and to control the regis- tration, management and inspection of common lodging-houses. (d) Power to make Bye-laws. Every Dis- trict Council has power to make bye-laws for the regulation of the district under its control. All bye-laws must be made under the seal of the Council, and must be advertised and pub- lished in the prescribed manner. They must also, before coming inio force, be submitted to the Local Government Board for its approval, when they may be either confirme d, amended or disallowed. If confirmed, they bind all persons who come within the district. (e) Power, duties and liabilities of Justices ,it of session, such as the licensing of gang- masters, and game-dealers, the abolition of fairs, and the execution of the Acts relating to petroleum and infant life protection. (2) Duties applicable to Urban District Councils onlu, viz. (a) Certain Public Health functions relat- ing to urban areas, including the issue of Stocks under Part I. of the Public Health Acts Amendment Act, 1890; (b) Minor Education Authority, with power to aid or supply education other than elementary; (c) Parochial Adoptive Acts as enumerated in section dealing with the Parish, in- cluding provision of allotments; (d) Trading undertakings; (e) Where the population is 20,000 the Urban District Council is the authority under:â (i.) Old Age Pensions Act, 1908; (ii.) National Insurance Acts, 1911 to 1918; (iii.) Shops Act, 1912 and 1913. (iv.) Elementary Education Autho- rity. (f) Where the population is 25,000 the Urban District Council may petition for the appointment of Stipendiary Magistrate under the Act of 1863. (g) Where the population is 50,000 the Urban District Council is the authority under:â (i.) Unemployed Workmen Act, 1905; (ii.) Local Committee under the Naval and Military War Pensions, &c.. Acts, 1915 to 1917. (h) Power to apply for Charter of In- corporation.

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THE POLITICAL FRONT.1

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