CAPTAIN NAYLOE-LEYLAND (Colchester)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether Mr. J. H. Bignold is the only Inspector of Factories in the four Counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and East Essex, a district which contains a population of 1,500,000; whether he is aware that there are over 10,000 outworkers' places in the four towns of Norwich, Ipswich, Colchester, 812 and Cambridge, in the district; whether it has been represented persistently and continuously to him since the month of August, 1892, that one Factory Inspector, in so large a district, with so great a population, with so many factories and workshops, is totally insufficient; and does he propose to take any steps in the matter; if so, when?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. ASQUITH,) Fife, E.
The statements in the first and second paragraphs are substantially correct. Mr. Bignold was transferred to this district at his own request in April, 1892. In the case of workshops the duty of inspection rests, in the first instance, under the Act of 1891, with the Local Sanitary Authorities, and I regret that it has not been more vigorously discharged. In my opinion, the staff of Factory Inspectors both here and in other parts of the Kingdom is undermanned in view of the increasing weight and complexity of the duties cast upon them. I have already added considerably to it, and I hope to make further additions, which will give the Inspector in this district, amongst others, sensible relief during the ensuing financial year.