Deaths from Privation (Returns).

Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment. – in the House of Commons on 22nd March 1922.

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Photo of Mr Robert Richardson Mr Robert Richardson , Houghton-le-Spring

36.

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware that the request to the coroners from the Local Government Board always contained a caution that the Return should include only cases where the jury find that death was brought about by starva- tion or privation due to destitution, or in which a death, primarily due to disease, was accelerated by lack of food, shelter, or medical attention arising from poverty, and that the Returns show that, in all the cases except about 5 per cent. of the whole, this principle was complied with; will he say how the inspectors can always obtain information that a death on which a jury has found such a verdict has taken place unless it is reported to them by the coroner; whether there are now a very large number of deaths from privation which do not appear on the lists; and whether he will reconsider the subject from a health point of view and maintain the lists, with the improvement that the coroners shall be asked to send in a Report after each inquest has been held, and that it be made clear that cases where a coroner sits without a jury shall be included?

Photo of Sir Alfred Mond Sir Alfred Mond , Swansea West

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative, but I cannot say in what percentage of of cases the instruction mentioned was complied with. The inspectors obtain their information from the Poor Law officers and the local Press, and I have no reason to suppose that any cases of deaths from privation upon which inquests are held escape the inspectors' notice. I will certainly consider whether the present system can be improved.