On Wednesday 5th August 1936, a Councillor made a Plea for Homeless People in Blantyre.
” Lamentable Position ” of Seven Accused
“We are of the opinion that the Housing Committee had discretionary powers whether to prosecute or not. We find, however, that the Department of Health states we must prosecute these squatters. Yet they will not provide us with powers through legislation to provide houses for these people.”
So said County Councillor J. Beecroft, Blantyre, at Hamilton Sheriff Court, in making a plea for seven Blantyre squatters, who admitted taking possession of the houses at Turners’ Building, Glasgow Road, Blantyre.
Mr George M’Laughlin, solicitor, Hamilton, said the position of accused was lamentable. They had been in rooms, but were turned out from one house after another, owing to overcrowding or the fact that deductions were made from unemployment benefit paid to the tenants of the house, due the income from accused. There would be no recurrence of the trouble, as the County Council had decided to demolish the property as soon as the tenants were removed.
Plea For Leniency.
Councillor Beecroft, supporting a plea for leniency, said Blantyre required 1500 houses for overcrowding and 500 houses for improvement sthenics. The County Council had meantime decided to build 332 houses, but these would not be ready for some time. If the Council ejected these people, and they went to the Hamilton Home, it would cost Lanark County Council almost £1 a head to keep them per week. Then those squatters who were working would require to give up their jobs while they were in the Home. Sheriff Brown said the circumstances were no doubt distressing, and tho position was one which caused great anxiety to Local Authorities. So far as he was concerned, however, he was there to administer the law. A deliberate violation of the law could not tolerated on the ground of poverty or other cause, although the circumstances could be taken as extenuation when considering the penalty to be imposed. He imposed fine of £2, with the alternative of ten days’ imprisonment, and allowed six of the accused one month to pay. In the seventh case he deferred sentence three months, because of special circumstances.