HC Deb 27 June 1935 vol 303 cc1267-8

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many local authorities use the powers given to them under the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act, 1932, to restrict or prohibit child labour in the fields?


No education authority in Scotland has taken power by by-law, under the Act mentioned, to prohibit entirely the employment of children in agricultural pursuits. In five areas the statutory minimum age for employment of 12 years has been raised by by-law to 13 years for all employment, including agricultural work, though in one of these areas the higher age limit applies only to girls. Thirty-three of the 35 education authorities have made by-laws as to the employment of children, and in each case the by-laws include provisions for regulating the hours and conditions on which children may be employed.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many boys have been sent out on licence to farmers from approved schools in Scotland during the past 12 months?


During the past 12 months 20 boys have been licensed from approved schools to work on farms, and three have taken up such work on the expiry of their period of detention in the schools.


asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his attention has been called to a Press advertisement, dated 19th June, and sent him by the hon. Member for North Aberdeen (Mr. Burnett) offering a comfortable home for a school girl over nine, willing to help on a croft; and what steps he is prepared to take to prevent such exploitation of child labour?


My right hon. Friend has seen the Press advertisement referred to. In terms of Section 43 (1) of the Children and Young Persons (Scotland) Act, 1932, no child under the age of 12 years may be employed unless the Education Authority have made a by-law authorising employment by the parent or guardian, and then only in light agricultural or horticultural work. The Aberdeen County Education Authority have not made any such relaxing by-law, and, consequently, the employment in that area of a child under 12 years of age would be illegal in any circumstances. My right hon. Friend is calling the attention of the Education Authority to the case.


Will the hon. Gentleman find out whether this child is expected to work as a grown man, as is apparently expected of some boys of 12 or 14?


The case has only got to the length of an advertisement being put in the newspaper. I am not sure that there is any ground for going to the advertiser and making inquiries of him, because so far he has done nothing which is illegal. If any child were so foolish as to accept the job, a different situation would emerge.