§ SIR CHARLES DILKE (Gloucestershire, Forest of Dean)
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to a letter by Mr. Redgrave, superintending inspector of factories, in which that official says that his experience shows that there are pot banks in which inquiry would easily prove that the Truck Acts are being contravened; whether, in this case, it is the duty of the inspector to prosecute; and whether prosecution will be directed in all such cases with a view to the enforcement of the law.
(Answered by Mr. Secretary Akers-Douglas.) I was not aware that a letter 903 had been written by Mr. Redgrave on this subject to the Press; but the question of the system of deductions prevailing in the potteries (many of which I may say are customary deductions of very old standing) has engaged my attention for some time, and special instructions were given some months ago to the superintending inspector to inquire into the matter thoroughly and report to the Department. The investigations are not yet complete, and I have not yet received the report, but I understand that a movement is in progress in the district for the abolition of deductions, and that a number of firms have already wholly or partially abolished them. It is the duty of the inspector to prosecute for contraventions of the Truck Acts, and proceedings will be taken, if necessary, in this trade as in others.