HL Deb 25 June 1900 vol 84 cc878-80


Order of the Day for the Second Reading read.


My Lords, this Bill, which has passed through the House of Commons, has for its object the removal of a grievance which has been long felt in Ireland. In Ireland there is no law of settlement in force, and persons born in England or Scotland who are resident in Ireland, and find it necessary to apply for relief, cannot under any circumstances be removed to Great Britain. On the other hand, persons born in Ireland to whom relief has been given in England or Scotland might, under certain conditions, be removed to Ireland, notwithstanding that they had been for a long while resident in Great Britain. The existing law has for many years given rise to complaints by the Irish Members and others. In the case of Scotland, the grievance has been removed by the Poor Law (Scotland) Act, 1898. Under the existing law in England a person born in Ireland who resides continuously for a term of three years in any parish without receiving relief acquires a settlement in that parish, and if a person who applies for relief has resided in a poor-law union continuously for one year immediately preceding his application without having received relief, he cannot be removed if he applies for relief in that union. If, however, he applies for relief in a union in which he has not resided continuously for such twelve months, he may be removed to the union in which he is settled, and in default of a settlement may be transhipped to Ireland. The only cases in which there would seem to be hardship under the present law are those in which a person born in Ireland has passed a number of years in England without acquiring a settlement, and has not resided continuously for a year in the union in which he is resident when he requires relief. This hardship will be removed by the provision in Clause 1 (1) of the Bill, which will enact that a person who has resided continuously for five years in England shall not be removable to Ireland. The result of this will, of course, be that if he requiries relief in England he will have to be relieved in the union in which he is residing unless he has acquired a settlement in some other union. The law in force in England will be assimilated by the clause to that of Scotland under the Poor Law (Scotland) Act, 1898. Clause 1 (2) of the Bill will empower a board of guardians in England, instead of removing a pauper to Ireland, to agree with the board of guardians in Ireland to whom he would be chargeable or the maintenance of the pauper at the expense of the last-mentioned board of guardians. This provision is intended to meet cases in which the removal of the pauper would be inadvisable on the ground of old age or sickness, or some other sufficient reason.

Bill read 2a (according to Order), and committed to a Committee of the whole House To-morrow.