asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that a number of operatives employed in the ship-repairing industry in the Port of London are now, and have been for some months, in receipt of Poor Law relief while refusing to accept employment; that work is to-day available for at least 3,000 men by firms situate in the Borough of Poplar alone, and that work is also available in the Borough of West Ham; whether he has given the Poplar Guardians permission for further overdrafts; and if he will take steps to prevent the guardians from granting relief to individuals for whom work is available?
I have received representa- tions in the sense of the first part of the question, and am giving them my consideration. The audit of the Poplar Guardians' expenditure is now being held, and it is open to any ratepayer to attend and object to payments in respect of relief which he regards as unlawful. I have recently issued a special Order to the Poplar Guardians and I am advancing them the sums necessary to enable them to carry on Poor Law administration on the lines of that Order.
I have made an Order in accordance with the existing legislation under which the Poplar Board of Guardians have to conform to the London standard, and it is under the conditions laid down that I am advancing the money.
Statements of that kind have been made frequently, but they are extremely difficult to test. It is not the duty of my Department. These men should be registered a? the Employment Exchanges to get employment.
Is it not a fact that since the lock-out, in the engineering trade terminated a very large number of men cannot find employment, and the Employment Exchanges will not register them, and that the only alternative which they have is to go to the guardians'?