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Encyclopedia > Local Government Act 1929

The Local Government Act, 1929 (19 &20 Geo V, c17) made changes to poor law and local government in England and Wales. The act abolished the system of poor law unions in England and Wales and their boards of guardians, passing their powers to local authorities. It also gave county councils increased powers over highways, and made provisions for the restructuring of urban and rural districts as more efficient local government areas.


Poor Law reform

Under the act all boards of guardians for poor law unions were abolished, with responsibility for public assistance transferred to county councils and county boroughs. The local authorities took over infirmaries and fever hospitals, while the workhouses became public assistance institutions. Later legislation was to remove these functions from the control of councils to other public bodies: the National Assistance Board and the National Health Service. In the British Isles, a county council is a council that governs a county. ... County borough was a term introduced in 1889 in the United Kingdom to refer to a borough or a city independent of county administration. ... The logo of the NHS for England. ...


County councils gained increased powers as the ultimate highway authority for all roads in the county. They acquired direct responsibility for all roads in the charge of rural district councils, as well as retaining control of roads classified by the Ministry of Transport. Urban district councils continued to be in charge of unclassified roads in their areas. In local government on the British Isles, a rural district was a predominantly rural area used for local government. ... This page meets Wikipedias criteria for speedy deletion. ... In the British Isles an urban district was a type of local government district which covered an urbanised area. ...

Adjusting local government areas

The 1929 Act sought to solve a problem that had arisen in the existing scheme of local government, with administrative counties divided into a large number of small urban and rural districts. Some urban districts had a population of just a few hundred and did not have the resources to deliver modern local government services. Similarly, there were a number of rural districts created in 1894 that had small and irregular areas. There were also a few areas where parishes in one county were administered by a rural district council in another.

County review orders

Section 46 of the act provided for a review of districts in each administrative county in England and Wales, with a view to forming more effective areas for administrative purposes. The process involved the putting forward of a scheme by the county council to which objections or representations could be made before an order was made by the Minister of Health. The first orders under the act were made in 1932, the last in 1938. In the counties of Radnorshire and Rutland no changes were made to the existing structure. Radnorshire (Welsh: Sir Faesyfed) is an inland traditional county of Wales, bounded to the north by Montgomeryshire and Shropshire, to the east by Herefordshire, to the south by Brecknockshire and to the west by Cardiganshire. ... Rutland is traditionally Englands smallest county and is bounded on the west and north by Leicestershire, northeast by Lincolnshire, and southeast by Northamptonshire. ...

The effects of the review orders of 1932 – 1938 on the county districts was as follows:

  • 189 boroughs extended
  • 206 urban districts abolished and 49 created (a net decrease of 159)
  • 236 rural districts abolished and 67 created (a net decrease of 169)

The act did not allow for the abolition of municipal boroughs, so a number of small boroughs continued in existence. This power was later incorporated in the Local Government Act, 1958. A borough is a political division originally used in England. ...

At the same time as reorganising rural districts, a large number of parishes within them were also amalgamated. In England a civil parish (usually just parish) is the smallest unit of local government. ...

It was originally envisioned that reviews would be carried out every ten years, but the intervention of the Second World War and later legislation creating a Local Government Boundary Commission meant that there were no further large scale changes in administrative areas until 1965 –1968.

See also

An administrative county is an administrative area in the British Isles. ... In the British Isles, a county council is a council that governs a county. ... In the British Isles an urban district was a type of local government district which covered an urbanised area. ... In local government on the British Isles, a rural district was a predominantly rural area used for local government. ... The Poor Law was the system for the provision of social security in operation in England and the United Kingdom from the 16th century until the establishment of the Welfare State in the 20th century. ... The Local Government Act 1888 (51 & 52 Vict. ... The Local Government Act 1894 (57 & 58 Vict. ...


  • Local Government Areas 1834 -1945, V D Lipman, Oxford, 1949
  • Local Administrative Units of England, (2 vols.), Frederic A Youngs, London, 1991

  Results from FactBites:
Local Government Act 1929 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (660 words)
Acts of Parliament of the Kingdom of England to 1659
Acts of Parliament of the Kingdom of Scotland
Acts of Parliament of the Kingdom of Ireland
EH.Net Encyclopedia: English Poor Laws (4683 words)
Parliament addressed this question in the Settlement Act of 1662, which formalized the notion that each person had a parish of settlement, and which gave parishes the right to remove within forty days of arrival any newcomer deemed "likely to be chargeable" as well as any non-settled applicant for relief.
The other major piece of legislation was the Removal Act of 1795, which amended the Settlement Law so that no non-settled person could be removed from a parish unless he or she applied for relief.
The Local Government Act of 1929 abolished the Poor Law unions, and transferred the administration of poor relief to the counties and county boroughs.
  More results at FactBites »



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