HC Deb 18 July 1836 vol 35 cc268-9

Lord Ashley moved for a return of a copy of the regulations lately issued by Mr. Leonard Homer, Inspector of Factories. In doing so, he begged to ask his noble Friend opposite, whether it was intended to include in the twelve hours per week allotted to children employed in factories for the purposes of education, the time they attended Sunday schools. Some explanation was necessary, as there was a complete variance in this respect, between the terms of the regulations which had been issued, and the provisions of the Factories Bill. He begged also to inquire whether it was the intention of the noble Lord to increase the number of inspectors, for it was impossible for the most zealous officer to perform all the duties of the districts as at present arranged. Without an increase to the number of inspectors, the Act would be considerably evaded; and rather than that should be the case, he was sure the House would support the noble Lord in any proposition for an addition to the number of inspectors, through whose means the provisions of the Bill might be fully and efficiently brought into operation.

Lord John Russell

said, that with regard to the first question put to him by the noble Lord opposite, the regulations issued by an inspector, originated with that inspector, who was of course responsible to the Home-office; and with respect to the regulations issued by Mr. Homer, he (Lord J. Russell) did not see that they could lead to any misunderstanding; and further, that they did not contain anything contrary to the provisions of the Act. With regard to an increase in the number of inspectors, he must say, it might be necessary either to do so, or to give to the superintendents powers which at present they did not possess. It was a subject to which he should give his best and most anxious attention.

Lord Ashley

said, that the regulations included attendance in schools on Sundays, whereas the Act contemplated the attendance in schools to be twelve hours per week of six days, excluding the seventh, which he hoped to see left to them as a day of rest, without it being compulsory on the children on that day to attend schools.

Mr. Hindley

suggested to the noble Lord opposite (Lord Ashley), the propriety of including in his motion a return of all the regulations issued by the various factory inspectors throughout the kingdom, and with that view, to withdraw his motion, and give notice of it in an amended form.

Motion withdrawn.