HC Deb 23 April 1913 vol 52 c354

asked the Secretary to the Treasury whether his attention has been drawn to the report of an investigation conducted by the research committee of the Christian Social Union into the trades of fruit preserving, pickle making, confectionery, tea packing, coffee and cocoa packing, and biscuit making in the East End of London, and to the statement made in that report that the practice is becoming increasingly prevalent in those trades of dismissing girls of sixteen and replacing them by girls of fourteen; and that where the check system is in vogue the girls work at pressure; and, in view of this evil, whether the Government will introduce in the National Insurance Act such amendments as will prevent this exploitation of juvenile labour?


I have read with great interest a copy which the Noble Lord has been good enough to send me of the report referred to in his question. I have no evidence that such replacement of older by younger girls, as is suggested, is taking place to any considerable extent. The question of the further regulation of the employment of girls of fourteen in factories is one which might be met by legislation, but I do not think it could be dealt with by an Amendment of the Insurance Act.