HC Deb 22 June 1896 vol 41 cc1547-8
* SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucester, Forest of Dean)

I beg to ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, with regard to the statement of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Factories that the power of the Secretary of State to issue orders applicable to particular classes of work in specified areas where outwork is carried on under insanitary conditions will enable the sweating districts to be dealt with, to what extent steps have been taken to deal with the sweating districts under the provisions of section 5 of the Factory Act of 1895?


Immediately after the Act of last year came into force I made very full inquiries with a view to determining the districts in which the section should be put into operation. The qualifications, however, introduced into the section in the House of Commons were so stringent that I found no case existed in which I had power to make the order. The right hon. Member will remember that before such an order can be made it must be proved that the number and distribution of the population, or the conditions under which work is carried on, are such as to involve special risks of injury or danger to the health, not only of the persons employed, but also of the whole district. I do not know of any case in which these conditions would be complied with except when a district is suffering from, or is threatened with, a special outbreak of infectious disease originating among the sweated workpeople. If that state of things should arise, or if, in any other way, the conditions which the Act imposes are fulfilled, I shall be ready to make the necessary order.