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recreation ground and to make regulations for its use, and if it is proposed to purchase the land, the money may be raised by loan.
WATER SUPPLY, &c. An unwholesome or insufficient water supply is another very common grievance in villages. It is the duty of the District Council to organize any new supply on a large scale. But the Parish Council may dig wells, put up windmills to pump the water, lay pipes to bring water from a stream up to the houses, and, in fact, make use of any source of water within the parish in whatever way appears best, provided that they interfere with no one's rights, or that the matter can be arranged by agreement.
It has also power to put right any ill-smelling pond or ditch, and to call the attention of the District Council to any unhealthy cottage or other sanitary fault in the parish. If the District Council does not take action, the County Council may be appealed to, and may undertake the work.
ROADS AND FOOTPATHS. Similarly, if the District Council does not repair the highways, the Parish Council may ask the County Council to do it instead. The Parish Council may also take steps to prevent any stopping of a right of way or enclosure of common or roadside waste ; but when legal proceedings are necessary the District Council must undertake them. The Parish Council has power to buy by agreement any new right of way that would be of advantage to the people. It may also repair footpaths, except those at the side of the roads, and, if the Parish Meeting consents, it may lay out new walks and put seats along them.
THE VILLAGE HALL. every parish which can by any means afford it, there should be a hall with a library and reading-room, which should be at once the centre of the village life and interest, a place for all kinds of meetings, and a generally useful means of education. A museum, art gallery, and science and art school may be added. The Parish Meeting must consent to raising the money for such a building, but the Parish Council will have to erect and manage it.*
OTHER POWERS. In the same manner, the village may be lighted by oil, gas or electricity. Part of a river may be made convenient for a swimming-bath, or a building may be erected for that purpose which could be used in winter as a gymnasium. The Acts for these purposes must be adopted by the Parish Meeting.
EXPENSES. The expenses of the Parish Council are paid out of the poor-rate, but a separate heading must be made to show how much of the rate is for these expenses. The Parish Council may not spend beyond the amount of a threepenny rate without the consent of the Parish
· The cost will be paid out of the poor-rate, but the Council will have power to borrow for capital outlay. For the library, reading-room, &c., a special vote must be taken and a special rate made under the Public Libraries Act.
Meeting, but with its consent the limit is sixpence in the £. but the cost of lighting the roads, maintaining a library or baths, and one or two other things are not included in this limit. For important undertakings the Parish Council may borrow money with the consent of the Parish Meeting, the County Council, and the Local Government Board, but not any sum exceeding half the rateable value of the parish. The cost of Parish Meetings and elections to the Parish Council must be paid out of the threepenny rate.
Powers of the Rural District Council. Many of these powers have been referred to in the paragraphs dealing with Parish Councils, especially those connected with allotments, right of way, commons and wayside wastes, and water supply. The two chief concerns of the Council are :
1. THE MANAGEMENT OF HIGHWAYS. The Council has the control of all the roads, bridges, &c., in the district, except the main roads, which the County Council manages, and it has the power to make new ones. It appoints the surveyor and employs the laborers required to keep the roads in repair.
2. THE CARE OF PUBLIC HEALTH. This includes an enormous variety of matters of ever-increasing importance. It is the duty of the Council to undertake :
(a) The drainage of every village and hamlet in the district. 6) Scavenging and removal of dust and refuse wherever required. c) Provision of a proper supply of good water. (d) Supervision of cellar-dwellings and inspection of lodging-houses. (e) The closing of all dwellings unfit for human habitation, and
compelling the owners of all insanitary cottages and houses
to pul and keep them in proper repair. Inspection of shops of butchers and others. to prevent the
sale of diseased and unwholesome meat and food, and of
adulterated milk, food, or drugs.
The regulation of canal boats.
with gardens, where needed, or of lodging-houses, under the
Housing of the Working Class Act, 1890, Part III. The Council will also have the duty of licensing gang-masters, pawnbrokers, game-dealers, knackers' yards, and baby-farms, and controlling the sale of petroleum. And it has various powers and duties in regard to the control and regulation of commons.
To carry out these and other duties, the Council must employ a medical officer, and a sufficient staff of sanitary inspectors.
The Council, by a vote, or ratepayers rated to one-tenth of the rateable value of the district, can apply to the Local Government Board for the additional powers possessed by Urban Sanitary Authorities, which will enable it to deal with offensive trades, streets, new buildings, lighting, public pleasure grounds, cabs, and slaughter-houses.
Powers of the Urban District Councils. These Councils have (1) all the rights and duties of the Rural District Councils except those which are exercised by a Rural District Council in connection with the Parish Councils of its district. As there are no Parish Councils in an Urban District, these precise powers and duties cannot exist.
It is the Sanitary Authority, and therefore exercises all the duties connected with the management of highways, and the care of the Public Health set out on page 13, and further, as an Urban Authority, it already has those powers enumerated on page 13, which a Rural District Council can obtain by application to the Local Government Board. It has nearly all the powers and duties of a Town Council, except the regulation of the police. In an Urban District these powers and duties are usually more important and urgent than in a Rural District, because the population is denser, and often consists almost exclusively of the working class, living in long, dismal streets of small houses.
The Council has all the powers enumerated on pages 10 and 11 which are possessed by Rural District Councils for buying or hiring land for allotments. It can obtain, by application to the Local Government Board, all the other powers of a Parish Council, in particular those relating to charities, to the use of rooms, and to appointment of overseers and assistant overseers. It becomes the authority for all the adoptive Acts, as for instance those for providing Free Libraries, Baths and Washhouses, and for Housing. It has the power, without the restrictions imposed on Rural Districts, to build artizans' dwellings, and provide cottages with half an acre of garden whenever there is a demand for them.
It can obtain powers, by private Acts of Parliament and otherwise, to erect, or buy and to manage gas works, electric light works, water works, tramways, markets, and parks.
Powers of the Board of Guardians. By far the most important duties and powers of the Board of Guardians are the administration of the Poor Laws and the control of Poor Law relief. This is too large a question to be dealt with in this tract. Information on the subject will be found in Fabian Tract No. 54, "The Humanizing of the Poor Law."
The powers and duties of Guardians which are not directly connected with the relief of the poor can alone be touched upon here. They are as follows :
(1) To determine the total sum required from each parish for relief of the poor of the Union, to hear and determine appeals against any assessment made by any overseer, and generally to be the Rating Authority.
(2) To register births and deaths.
(4) To appoint overseers where the Parish Authority fails to appoint them for three weeks after April 15th in each year.
(5) To act upon any special powers or duties imposed on them by any Act of Parliament.
POSTSCRIPT. The earlier pages of this tract have been reprinted (with a few verbal alterations only) from stereo plates, although in a few points the law has been altered since they were written. The corrections and additions are :
Page 5, line 32. Demand for a poll.–By existing rules a poll must be demanded by five electors or one-third of the electors present (whichever number is the lesser), or by one elector with the consent of the chairman.
HOUSING. Hitherto the Housing of the Working Classes Act, 1890, under which cottages can be built wherever needed, has been of very little use to rural parishes, partly because Parish Councils have had no power to act themselves and partly because Rural District Councils have been hampered by absurd legal conditions which made the building of cottages almost impossible.
By the Amendment Acts passed in 1900 and 1903 these difficulties have been considerably reduced. Much of the old cumbrous procedure is abolished. Rural District Councils have now only to satisfy the County Council that cottages are wanted in any parish, and that they can be built to pay expenses, and the County Council can at once give the necessary permission. In addition to this, a new and most valuable power is given to Parish Councils. If the Rural District Council refuse to attend to resolutions adopted by the Parish Council requesting them to build cottages, the Parish Council can complain to the County Council, and the County Council can then order the cottages to be built. Here, then, is an opportunity for vigorous action. For the first time the right of the Parish Council to take steps for obtaining proper houses for the villagers is recognized by the law. In the past, Rural District Councils might fairly say that Parish Councils had nothing to do with building new cottages. Now it has been made their business, and they should see that it is attended to.
EDUCATION. The Ar of 1902 gave Parish Councils and, where there is no Council, Parish Meetings thu ..ght to appoint one of the managers to any public elementary schools in their area, and they can arrange with their County Council for continuation classes in technical education in the schools. Urban District Councils have these and other rights, and when their population exceeds 20,000 they become the Education Authority and have large powers and duties. In view of the probable alteration of the law and the complexity of the subject, full details cannot be given here.
MEALS FOR SCHOOL CHILDREN. By the Education (Provision of Meals) Act, 1906, the Education Authority (the County or in some cases the Urban District Council) can (1) authorize any committee to provide meals for school children, and may pay for buildings, furniture, apparatus, service, etc., but not for food; (2) where children are underfed the Education Authcrity may pay for the food. In many parishes there is a great need for hot meals at midday for children coming from a distance, and the parents willingly pay the necessary penny. Parish Councils are the proper bodies to organize such canteens, under the Act, if the County Council consents, or outside it, by voluntary committees, if there is a difficulty in getting legal authority. The Parish Council'delegate to the Managing Committee of the Parish School should be instructed by the Council to move in this matter.
NOTE:-Women as well as men are referred to in most places in this tract where the words he, his, him only are used.
Full details of the Housing of the Working Classes Act and the use that has been made of it are given inFabian Tract No. 76, " Houses for the People.” A summary of the powers of
local authorities under the Housing Acts, 1890-1903, and the use which has been
and can be made of them. Revised 1906. id. Fabian Tract No. 109, “ Cottage Plans and Common Sense." id. Fabian Tract No. 63, “Parish Council Cottages, and how to get them." A leaflet, 6 for id., or is. per 100.
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