Financing the Poor Relief

To finance the provision of poor relief in Milford union a poor rate was to be levied and this was to be based on a valuation of all the property in the union. As a result the Milford board of guardians ordered a re-valuation of the union and set up a valuation committee. Guardians were to become ex-officio members of the committee when the electoral division they represented was under consideration by the valuator.

The poor rate was to be used for the upkeep of the workhouse and the maintenance of the paupers there as well as paying the salaried officers of the union - the clerk, medical officers, master and matron of the workhouse, porter, chaplains, schoolteachers, rate collectors and relieving officers. In some cases the poor rate was used to assist in emigration and after 1847 it was also used to pay for the management of the outdoor relief programme.

In 1838 this poor rate was to be paid by all occupiers of land, but this was changed so that if a property was rated at under 4 the owner and not the occupier of the land was required to pay the union rate where there was no lease. In order to ensure that this was done the Clerk ordered that all proprietors should send in lists of occupiers having more than one holding, which in aggregate exceeded 4, and lists of small occupiers holding by lease. Each electoral division was to pay for the maintenance of the poor who had resided in the district before going to the workhouse, while those who had no fixed residence for a number of years were to be charged on the union as a whole. In this way the local area was to be responsible for its own poverty.

Right: Extract from the minutes of Milford Board of Guardians requesting that a list of the occupiers in the area with holdings of over 4 value be sent to the Union Clerk, (BG/119/1/1, 21st July 1845).

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