HC Deb 18 February 1907 vol 169 c530
MR. C. J. O'DONNELL (Newington, Walworth)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if his attention has been called to the inquest on the 14th instant, at Poplar, on the body of George Watts, a married shop assistant; whether the hours of work of the dead man had been from 8.30 a.m. to 11.30p.m., and to 12.15 a.m. on Saturdays; whether his wages had been 15s. a week, or 2d. an hour; and whether he proposed to take steps to make such excessive hours of labour in shops on starvation wages impossible.

(Answered by Mr. Secretary Gladstone.) I have seen a newspaper report of this case, from which the facts appear to have been substantially as stated in my hon. friend's Question. The death seems to have been due to a combination of ill-health, poverty, and overwork, and the case is a very distressing one. But, as my hon. friend knows, the questions of minimum wage and hours of individual employment involve problems of the greatest importance and complexity. They are receiving and with receive the closest attention I can give them, but I cannot give any promise of legislation at the present time.