HC Deb 20 December 1934 vol 296 cc1300-1

asked the Minister of Labour whether he is aware that there are serious shortages of juvenile labour in various industrial districts; and what steps he is taking to provide for the migration of such labour and for safeguarding the interests of these juveniles living away from home?


I have had a detailed reply to this question prepared which, with my hon. Friend's permission, I will circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT.


Has not the Ministry of Labour some routine machinery for providing for juvenile migration?


If the hon. Member means juvenile migration from depressed areas to more prosperous areas the answer is in the affirmative, and I have given him, as he will see, very detailed information about the steps we are taking to make that scheme even more efficient.


Are we to take it that the Government have machinery in operation for taking the children of the poor from their mothers and bringing them into more prosperous areas?


It is not a question of taking the children from their mothers, but of finding jobs for school-leavers and others.

Following is the reply:

The Department are fully aware that there is a shortage of juvenile labour in some districts and a surplus in others. The machinery already in operation designed to remedy this position has achieved a considerable degree of success during the past few years, and my right hon. Friend is taking steps to increase its effectiveness in every practicable way. He has in particular caused a letter to be addressed to Education Authorities administering Juvenile Employment Bureaux in areas in which there is likely to be a shortage of juvenile labour, and has urged them in the national interest to give their full and sympathetic co-operation in dealing with this problem. It will be appreciated that arrangements for watching over the welfare of juveniles transferred away from home are specially important; such arrangements already exist and are being strengthened. In certain cases the initial wage paid to juvenile employees is not enough to enable them to live away from home, and this is particularly true of certain vacancies which offer good prospects; in such cases a small grant may be made by the Department to the juvenile to cover the difference. Still further to assist in a rapid and continuous transfer consideration is now being given to the setting up of three experimental juvenile transfer centres in South Wales, Durham and Lanarkshire respectively, where it is hoped that the physique of boys may be improved who are willing and whose parents are willing that they should transfer to other areas. My right hon. Friend is profoundly interested in this problem and he believes that with the increased co-operation of the local education authorities upon which he relies, and with the application of the other additional measures to which reference has been made, a substantial contribution to the reduction of unemployment in the depressed areas, where the juvenile problem is most serious, may foe effected.