HC Deb 28 April 1870 vol 200 cc1964-5

said, he would beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been directed to the reports of continued and systematic evasion of the Truck Act in Scotland; and, whether he is prepared to sanction a public inquiry by Royal Commission, or otherwise, into the working of that Act?


said, in reply, that he was quite aware of the continued and systematic evasion of the Act, not only in Scotland, but in other parts of the country. Many years ago a Select Committee, on which he sat, was appointed to inquire into those evasions. The Committee took ample evidence, not only as regarded Scotland, but also England and Wales; but they were unable to agree on a Report, inasmuch as they found it difficult, if not impossible, to increase the stringency of the Act without interfering with freedom of trade. He did not think any new facts would be obtained by a Royal Commission, or that inquiry by a Select Committee would add anything to our knowledge. It would simply be adding another Blue Book to the many we already possessed. All he could say was, that as it was impossible for him to deal with the question this Session, if the hon. Baronet, or any other Member of the House, would take it in hand, Her Majesty's Government would be prepared to give their best consideration to any suggestions which might be made.