HC Deb 17 June 1892 vol 5 cc1454-6
MR. SYDNEY BUXTON: (Tower Hamlets, Poplar)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether he has, as yet, in any case, enforced Sections 1 and 2 of the Factory and Workshop Act, 1891, which provides that, where the Secretary of State is satisfied that the sanitary provisions in regard to workshops have not been duly carried out by the Local Authority, he may intervene; whether the Inspectors have, under Section 26, received due notice of the opening of workshops since the passing of the Act; whether they have further duly forwarded the notification to the Sanitary Authority of the district; and whether he has, under Section 27, made any order requiring the occupier of any workshop, or any contractor employed by any occupier, to keep lists of those employed by him; and, if so, whether any penalty has been inflicted for non-compliance with the order?


I have hitherto received no complaints requiring the intervention of the Home Office under Sections 1 and 2 of the Factory Act of last Session. I may point out to the hon. Member that such intervention should only take place where there has been clear neglect or default on the part of the Local Authority. The Inspectors of Factories have received full instructions to require occupiers of workshops to send them notices as prescribed by the 26th section of the Act, and to forward such notices to the Sanitary Authority. Further instructions to the like effect were issued to the Inspectors on the 8th of this month requesting them to see to the strict observance of the 26th Section, and to forward prosecution reports where they found any occupier who had failed to send the required notice. To what extent the Inspectors have received these notices I am unable to say without further time for inquiry; and I am about to issue a Circular calling for information on the subject. With regard to the fourth paragraph of the question, I have had the provisions of the 27th section of the Act under my consideration, and I have been collecting information as to the trades and localities in which it would be expedient to issue orders.


I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether, in reference to the Factory and Workshop Act, 1891, and the Public Health (London) Act, 1891, he has sent out any Circular to the Local Authorities in London, drawing their attention to the new duties imposed on them in respect to workshops; what arrangements have been made for carrying out the law in regard, on the one hand, to notification by the medical officer to the Factory Inspector if the former becomes aware that any child, young person, or woman is being employed in a workshop; and, on the other, to notification on the part of the Factory Inspector to the Local Authority when the former receives notice of the opening of a workshop; and whether he is in a position to state that any improvement has taken place in the sanitary condition of the workshops in London since the passing of the before mentioned Acts?


The Factory and Workshop Act, 1891, and the Public Health (London) Act came into operation on the 1st January last, and I caused a Circular Letter to be addressed on the 30th November last to the several Sanitary Authorities in London drawing their attention to the new duties imposed on them in respect of workshops. The duties of the Factory Inspector as regards notification to the medical officer, and of the medical officer with respect to notification to the Factory Inspector, are specifically prescribed by the Statute, and those duties were referred to in the Circular of the Local Government Board. I have had no complaint that the requirements of the Statute as regards these matters have not been duly complied with. The Annual Reports of the Medical Officers of Health in London are usually made for the year ending the 31st December and I have not received any communication either from the Sanitary Authorities or the Medical Officers of Health which would enable me to express any opinion on the question as to the improvement in the sanitary condition of London workshops since the 1st January in the present year. Of course, the Act has been in operation but a short time, and I hardly think it is desirable to call for a special Report yet; but I am watching the matter carefully, and when the time arrives to take action I shall be prepared to do so.