§ MR. LAWRENCE (Liverpool, Abercromby)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that the necessary restrictions as to leaving casual wards in the Metropolis make them of little use for genuine wayfarers, and that there is no religious service or instruction provided for those detained during Sundays; and whether he is aware that the casual wards at the West End of London are generally filled every night with people who come to that part of London as beggars, while those of the East End are practically empty; if so, whether, having regard to the apparent unsatisfactory results of the system of casual wards in the Metropolis, he will direct a Departmental Inquiry to be made?
§ MR. RITCHIE
The regulations with regard to the detention of casual paupers admit of exceptions being made in the case of genuine wayfarers in search of work, but it would, in my opinion, be most inexpedient to relax the general rules as to detention. Religious services are provided on Sundays in a large proportion of the casual wards in the Metropolis. I do not agree with the suggestion that the wards in the East End of London are practically empty; but it is the case that there are wards in the Western and more central parts of London where there is pressure on the accommodation. I am informed that there is no material difference in the class of persons who frequent the wards in the different parts of the Metropolis. As regards the suggestion that a Departmental Committee should be appointed to consider the casual ward arrangement, I do not think that the circumstances are such that any advantage would result from this course.