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Never count your Chickens…





COTTAGE HOMES FOB THE POOR, BILL BEAD A SECOND TIME IN THil COMMONS. In the Home of Commons on Wednesday, Mr. J. HUTTON (13., Richmond), m moving the second reading of the Cottage Homes Bill, said the object was to provide cottage homes for the deserving poor. There were no less than 400,000 persons over 60 years of age who were in receipt of parochial relief. The Bill pro- vided that the council of any borough, district, or parish may, with the consent of the county councils, purchase suitable sites of land or houses for the purpose of cottages for the deserving poor of the districts in their old age. It would take the care of these old people out k,)f the hands of the boards of guardians, and place it with the parish councils. The county councils would also have power for the better working of the Bill to amalgamate the smaller parishes into one body, and would have the determining power as to the number and size of the cot- tages to be erected in any district. It was difficult to arrive at the cost, but it was pro- posed to apportion the expense in the following manner:—The county councils were to provide by county rates three-fourths of the ocst, and the Government were to be asked to contribute to the extent of the remaining fourth. It was estimated that the cost would amount to X20 per head per year, out of which the State would provide E5. This would compare very favourably with the cost of the woa-lihouse system—and, indeed, in Liverpool, where a similar scheme was already in use, it was found to be only 18. per week per head in excess of the workhouse charges. It was not pro- posed to extend the Bill to Scotland, Ireland, or the administrative county of London. Mr. J. PAULTON (R., Bishop Auckland) seconded. Mr. STANLEY LEIGHTON (U., Oswestry) I thought it would be exceedingly difficult to keep the cottages uader proper control. The Bill was a new Poor-law Act which proposed to create workhouses in every parish. Mr BIRRELL (R., Fife) thought this a very important question, and gave it his hearty support. The point the Housa. had to face was whether they were willing that the last years of the honest and deserving poor should be made a3 happy and comfortable as possible, or whether it was right that they should eat the bread of bitterness and drink the water of humiliation. Mr. LAMBERT (R.. South Molton) thought the Bill would prod the Government to do some- thing to redeem the promises which they were so very prodigal in making before the last election. Mr. TALBOT (V., Oxford University) took exception to the measure, because it was very difficult to tell who were the deserving poor. Commander BETHELL (V., York. E.R.) sup- ported the Bill. Hs had complete faith in the ability of the councils to descriminato between the deserving and the undeserving poor. Mr. SO AMES (R., South Norfolk) supported the Bill, because the question was of great impor- tance to the agricultural labouring classes. Mr. W. JOHNSTONE (U., Belfast) expressed hearty concurrence with the principle of the Bill. and hoped it would be extended to Ire- land. Mr. GODDARD (R., Ipswich) thought the Bill was very necessary in view of the tendency that prevailed now among employers only to engage young men. Mr. CONINGSBY DISRAELI (U.. Altrincham) opposed the Bill because it was the crudest and most amateur effort ever put before the House. If old-age pensions were to come, this Bill would make future reforms ludicrous. Mr. HOBHOUSE (U., East Somerset) objected I because the scheme only dealt with one phase of a very important question. Mr. RECKITT (R., Brigg) hoped the second reading would be agreed to, and then the defects could be remedied in Committee. Mr. CHAPLIN (President of the Local Govern- ment Board) was in hearty sympathy with the object of the Bill, as he was sure that every humane and kind-hearted man was. It was natural that they should desire to provide fo* the deserving aged poor. It was only when they came to the machinery necessary that they found there was a great disagree- ment of opinion. The measure now suggested embodied the very obnoxious principle that one authority should provide four-fifths of the funds whictrfj mother authority was to spend, with little oro inducement to economy of administration. The objections to such a proposal were so obvious that he need not dwell on them. But. apart from that, he did not think it was quite certain that the county councils would under the circumstances be willing to supply the funds. Moreover, the Bill contained no provision dealing with the administration of the proposed cottage homes. It was suggested that each should accommo- date ten inmates with two attendants. But homes containing that number of persons would, in effect. be small workhouses, and what, he asked. would be the position of the attendants ? If they were to occupy the position of master or matron, in what respect would the homes differ from workhouses? While if they were to be in effect servants, who was to control the establishments? (Hear. hear.) He also believed that the deserving poor would infinitely prefer that such relief as was granted to them should be forthcoming in another form-that of more general and more adequate out-relief. (Hear, hear.) He feared that the more the matter was examined the more it would be seen how impossible it was to give effect to the lion, member's desire through the medium of parish councils. It might be asked why the Govern- ment themselves had done nothing themselves in this direction. But they had done some- thing. They had improved Poor-law adminis- tration by urging the boards of guardians to do something in the nature of drawing dis- tinctions between the deserving and undeserv- ing poor. It was pointed out that the deserv- ing poor who were forced to enter the work. houses should be separated as far as possible from those who were not entitled to the same classification, that they should have better opportunities of seeing their friends, and that separate cubicles should be provided for their sleeping accommodation. Then there was the question of nursing and attendance. They prohibited attendance by a pauper receiving relief, and insisted on the employment of trained nurses night and day. He was glad to say that the Local Government Board orders had been universally acted upon. (Cheers.) This, after all, was but one branch of the greater question of old-age pensions, which wag now attracting so much attention. He gathered that there was a great desire to affirm the principle of the Bill, which made a distinc- tion between the treatment of the deserving and undeserving poor. That being so, and subject to the condition that the Bill, if it went further, should go to a Select Committee, he would offer no opposition to the second reading. Sir Walter Foster, Captain Challoner, Colonel Welby. and Colonel Kenyon Slaney all approved the principle of the Bill, but criti- cised the details. Sir JOHN LENG (R, Dundee) believed the better plan was to place the deserving poor in almshouses rather than in barracks Sir F. POWELL and several Metropolitan members also spoke, and the Bill was read a aec'ond time, and, on the motion of Sir J. HUTTON, referred to a Select Committee.

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