HC Deb 14 April 1899 vol 69 cc1138-40

I beg to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in view of the large increase of Sunday labour upon others than those immediately benefited consequent on the publication and distribution of seven days a week newspapers in this country, the Government will give facilities for the passing of a Bill to discourage seven days a week labour, and ensure one day per week rest to the working classes; if the Government will also consider the pro- priety of issuing regulations to check the hawking and crying of newspapers in the streets on Sunday, which cannot but increase if the present practice is to be allowed to continue; and, if he is aware that the newsagents, the class most affected by the new departure, number upwards of 13,000 in this country, and that the hardship of the extra work falls most heavily upon the poorer of these and on their employees, who are least able to defend themselves?

EARL PERCY (Kensington, S.)

I beg at the same time to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, in view of the practice recently adopted by the managers of certain daily papers of issuing Sunday numbers in addition to those printed on the other days of the week, and in view of the extension of this practice which will probably follow upon this innovation, thus entailing a seven days' labour upon large numbers of the working classes, the Government will take steps either to put in force the existing law against Sunday labour, or to extend it, if necessary, to cover the cases alluded to?

SIR M. STEWART (Kirkcudbright)

I beg further to ask the First Lord of the Treasury whether, seeing that the publication of Sunday newspapers must necessarily involve a large amount of Sunday labour, and thereby deprive many of the working classes of their lawful Sunday rest, the Government will strengthen the law against that description of Sunday labour?


These three Questions appear to touch two points, which are allied, but quite distinct—the question of Sunday labour, and the question of working the whole seven days of the week. I do not suggest the possibility of the Government dealing by legislation with these topics at all, nor can I announce any policy on this subject. But I am informed, at all events, by the proprietors of one of the largest of these Sunday papers, that it does not involve work upon seven days a week; that no one on their staff is worked seven days a week; and that no additional newsagents have been employed; and it must be evident to the House that, so far as actual work on the Sunday is concerned, it is more likely to be promoted on a paper which appears on a Monday morning than on a paper which appears on. a Sunday.


I should like to ask the right honourable Gentleman whether, with regard to employees getting one day'3 rest per week rather than the Sunday, we are to understand that the proprietors of the paper in question told him that they have appointed a distinct staff for the working of their Sunday paper.


No, sir; they did not tell me they had appointed a distinct staff; but they told me that the staff had been so strengthened in consequence of its issue one day more that no member is ever required to work more than six days.


Is the right honourable Gentleman aware that the Sunday paper to which he alludes is, as a rule, set up and most of the work done on a Saturday, and therefore that its issue does not carry with it much Sunday work?

[No reply.]

Subsequently, MR. PIRIE said: I find I made a mistake in my last Question. I, of course, meant to refer to the Monday newspaper to which the First Lord alluded, not to the Sunday papers, as being set up on the Saturday?