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CHARITABLE AID REFORM., Issue 7951, 5 July 1889
CHARITABLE AID REFORM.
A special meeting of the City Council was held last night for the purpose of considering the Hospitals and Charitable Aid Bill now before Parliament. There were present—the Mayor (in the chair), Cra Carroll. Solomon, Cohen, Sinclair, Cramoml, M‘Gregor, Hardy, Barron, Baynes, and Eimbell; and Mr Robin, one of the Council’s representatives on the Hospital Trust, ab'o attended. The Town Clerk mentioned that only two copies of the Bill had been forwarded to him. A conversational discussion took place as to whether the Council should go into committee for tho puipose cf discussing the details of the Bill, but several councillors nrged that it would bo unwise to do so, seeing that they had had no opportunity of becomiog acquainted with its provisions. On the other hand, Crs Solomon and Carroll thought that much would not be gained by postponement, as they were thoroughly acquainted with the salient features of the Bill, on which they were quite prepared to express an opinion, and as (he debate on the second reading was to bo resumed next night it might be advisable for the Council to express their mind on the measure for the guidance of the City members. It was incidentally mentioned that Ct fish, who had written approving of the Bill, had urged that the Council should make their views known with as little delay as possible. Cr Cohbn, to test the feeling of ihe Council, moved Solomon, Haynes, and Hardy be appointed a committee to consider the provisions of the Bill, and submit a report to the Council as soon as possible. Cr Oabkoll, while supporting the motion, thought the Council should express an opinion on the principle of the Bill at once. He had not critically examined it, but had read it sufficiently to come to the conclusion that it was a very bad measure in the interests of the ratepayer#, as it would increase the cost of dipensing charitable aid without securing greater efficiency or more economy. The experienced chairman of the Benevolent Trustees had submitted a digest of the Bill, and he thought that that might be accepted as about correct. The Bill might be pushed on, and it was advisable that the City members should know at once how the measure was viewed by the Council. Cr Barron, in seconding the motion, expressed the opinion that it would be unwise on the part of the majority who were unfavorably disposed towards the Bill to press a resolution in that direction, when several councillors admitted that they were wholly unacquainted with its provisions. Or Solomon doubted if the Committee could tell the Council much more than this: that the whole object of the Bill was to relieve counties from contributing towards the cost of outdoor relief and to throw the entire management of hospitals and distributing charitable aid on the borough councils. He failed to find a single redeeming feature in the Bill. Cra f inclair and Haynes also strongly urged delay; whilst Or Eimbell, though not objecting to the course suggested, was desirous of seeing a definite motion adopted. The Mayor spoke at some length, saying that there was urgent need for reform, as the present Act bad largely increased the cost of dispensing charitable aid and hospital management, and teaded to establish permanent pauperisation. The difficulty would have to be faced sooner or later, and the sooner the better. He would like to see a poor law, after the manner of that in vogue in the Old Country, and charitable aid distributed by a body analogous to the Board of Guardians. Those who would not work must go into a home: and if such a course were adopted many would find themselves too proud to
accept relief in that form. As instancing the increased cost of hospital management, ho mentioned that in the old days the Dunedin Hospital, with considerably over 100 patients, required only about thirty-two of a staff, whilst to-day, with a lessened number of patients, the staff was between seventy and eighty all told. —(Or Cohen : Will your Worship give the figures showing the relative cost of management? That would be more like a crucial test.) He (the Mayor) had not those figures by him just then, but he would take care to obtain them. He agreed with those speakers who had urged that a committee should report as to the effect of the proposed Bill on tbo City’s finances.
The motion was carried unanimously, as was an addition to it empowering the Mayor to telegraph to the Government and to the City membe s urging the postponement of further consideration of the Bill till the Council had bad a reasonable opportunity of considering its provisions,
CHARITABLE AID REFORM., Issue 7951, 5 July 1889
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