A local tax levied by a parish to finance the relief or support of the poor.
- Since the Elizabethan Poor Law of 1601 relief had been available for the poor within their parish, financed by the poor rate (a tax based on land and buildings), with ‘outdoor relief’ and the workhouse.
- This provided for the collection and disbursement of a poor rate in every parish, thus devolving responsibility to a local level, and, incidentally, helping to integrate the parish into secular government.
- This subsidy was larger the greater the share of the poor rate paid by non-labor-hiring taxpayers.
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