HC Deb 21 June 1888 vol 327 cc809-10
MR. LEES (Oldham)

asked the President of the Local Government Board, Whether it is contrary to law for Guardians of the poor to allow pauper children to work as "half-timers" in the factories; whether he is aware that the Lancashire cotton spinning industry can only be properly mastered by those who are employed in it at an early age as "half-timers;" and, whether he sees any prospect of being able to propose any alteration of the law in this respect?

THE PRESIDENT (Mr. RITCHIE) (Tower Hamlets, St. George's)

The proposal which has been submitted to the Local Government Board is that children, while they are maintained as pauper inmates of the workhouse, should be allowed to leave the workhouse during part of the day for the purpose of being employed in factories. The Board have stated that such an arrangement is opposed to the principles which should guide the Guardians in the administration of relief. It appears to the Board to be entirely opposed to the principles of the Poor Law Amendment Act that persons, while maintained in the workhouse at the cost of the rates, should be employed in factories, and thus compete with independent labour. If such an arrangement were legalized as regards factory work, the adoption of the same principle could not be resisted with respect to the employment of workhouse inmates in agricultural and other labour. I cannot hold out any expectation that an alteration of the law will be proposed.