HC Deb 30 November 1926 vol 200 cc993-4
17. Mr. MAXTON

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he has given his approval to a by-law of the Kincardine-shire Education Authority permitting children of 10 years of age to be employed in farm work?

The LORD ADVOCATE (Mr. William Watson)

The answer is in the negative. The position is that the Kincardineshire Education Authority applied to my right hon. Friend for sanction to the deletion from their by-laws for the employment of children of the minimum age at present laid down therein for seasonal employment, namely, 12 years. Aster correspondence with the authority, he intimated that he would, in view of the considerations which they urged, be prepared, with reluctance, to sanction a by-law prescribing a minimum age of 10 years for seasonal employment subject to review in the event of advertisement of the proposed by-law revealing a. serious body of objection to it. The proposed amendment of the by-laws will now require to be advertised with an intimation that objections may be addressed to my right hon. Friend within 30 days by any person affected.


Am I to understand that the reply is not in the negative, but in the affirmative, and that the Secretary of State for Scotland is prepared to sanction the employment of children of 10 years of age, provided there is no local objection raised?


I do not think there is any quibble in it. The question is, whether he has given his authority, and the answer is that he has not given his authority. It is conditional on there being no objection to the proposed alteration.


If there is no objection raised locally, he will give it?


With respect to the last words in the answer, which say that objection will only be considered from people whose interests will be affected, will the Lord Advocate say exactly how far that limits the class of persons who may object?


It is clear that any person affected may object.


Can the Lord Advocate say whether the Government are agreeable that the same principle that is now laid down may be applied to the Government's signature to the Washington Convention?


That is another matter.