§ SIR W. EVANS GORDON
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware of the practice among a certain class of employers in the East End of London, under which hands are made to sign indentures to work for a certain period without payment, on the pretence of their being taught a trade; whether he will consider the advisability of collecting a list of firms who treat their employees in this way, and of arranging that tenders from such firms should be refused by Government Departments and local authorities; and whether he has in contemplation any steps for the discouragement of home work and sub-contracting.
§ * MR. GLADSTONE
My right hon. friend has asked me to Answer this Question. I have no official information as to the existence of the practice alleged. The question whether any action should be taken to prevent the practice in the case of firms receiving Government contracts is a matter for the particular Departments concerned to consider, and I would suggest that the hon. Member should bring any information which he has in his possession before those Departments. As regards the last part of the Question I am not able to make any statement, but I may point out that certain powers of supervision and control in regard to homework are given to the 635 local authorities by the Factory Act, 1901, Section 107-10. Information as to the exercise of these powers has been obtained by the Home Office from the local authorities and is now being tabulated.