§ *SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)
I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether he will issue instructions to Inspectors of Factories and Workshops that a place where manual labour is exercised for the purpose of gain in such processes as those of sorting rags, packing goods, or bottling liquors, is a workshop within the meaning of the Factory and Workshop Acts and the Public Health Act, 1875, without regard to the question whether tools or implements are used in such process, or whether he will (if necessary) introduce such an Amendment to the Factories and Workshops Bill of this Session as will provide that all such places shall be treated as workshops within the meaning of those Acts?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE FOR THE HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. H. H. ASQUITH, Fife, E.)
I have no power to issue the instructions suggested. The widest interpretation consistent with the provision of the Act of 1878 is already given to the term "workshop." To extend it so as to include a mere warehouse not connected with a factory or workshop, where the work carried on is mere packing or bottling, and not in any sense the making or adapting for sale of the article, would be a very great extension of the Factory Acts, and would bring within their operation the establishments of most wholesale grocers, chemists and drapers Many of the 913 provisions of the Acts are not really appropriate to the work carried on in these places, and the duty of inspecting them would necessitate a very large increase in the present staff. I must not be understood as holding that warehouses of this kind might not properly be made the subject of statutory regulation, but I think that, if they are to be dealt with as in the case of shops, there must be special legislation on the subject.