HC Deb 02 May 1889 vol 335 cc978-9

asked the President of the Board of Trade whether he would, through the Department of Labour Statistics, cause inquiries to be made as to the number of hours per day averaged in different kinds of employment throughout the Kingdom, and whether in any and what cases double shifts prevail, and how far the hours of labour in this country are longer or shorter than they were thirty years since, and how the hours of labour in this country compare with those of other European countries in like industries; and whether he would lay the result of such inquiries upon the Table of this House?

MR. C. GRAHAM (Lanarkshire, N. W.)

Will the right hon. Gentleman at the same time cause inquiry to be made as to how it is that trades in this country, which work shorter hours than the same trades in foreign countries, nevertheless manage to hold their own.


I do not think that any inquiry I can make would throw much light upon the matter referred to by the hon. Member for Lanarkshire, but with regard to the question of the hon. Member for Northampton (Mr. Brad-laugh) I may say that the Royal Commission on Trade Depression caused inquiries to be made, amongst other things, as to changes in the hours of labour in different employments in the previous twenty years, and a large amount of information on this head in reply to their circulars is contained in the appendix to the Report. They also obtained similar information as to foreign countries. The Return as to wages for fifty years recently laid before Parliament by the Board of Trade, and the Annual Report of the Trades Unions by the Labour Correspondent of the Board, also contain information as to hours of labour. If the hon. Member will make any definite suggestion for adding to this information, I shall be glad to consider it, and in any case special attention will be given to this subject in the annual General Report for next year, by the Labour Correspondent of the Board.