HC Deb 15 July 1937 vol 326 cc1461-2
29. Mr. Rowson

asked the Home Secretary whether he can state the reason why James Evans, whose home is at 51, Southern Street, off Worsley Road, Farnworth, Lancashire, has not been allowed to return home, seeing that he was sentenced to three years at an approved school on the 27th June, 1934, and the three years have now expired; why this boy was only at the school for 20 months, and for the last 17 months has been hired out to a farmer who has not paid him any wages, and has only allowed him 2S. per week as pocket money; and is he aware that this boy's crime was stealing three bananas and it was his first offence?

Sir S. Hoare

This boy was ordered by a juvenile court to be sent to an approved school in June, 1934, having been found guilty of breaking and entering a store-room and stealing. It was his first offence. He was released on licence by the managers of the school in the exercise of their discretion in April, 1936; and in accordance with the provisions of the Children Act he remains under their supervision until June, 1940. The Managers were satisfied that it was in the boy's best interests to place him in employment with a local farmer. I am informed that the statement in the hon. Member's question in regard to the boy's wages is not correct.

Mr. Rowson

Am I to understand that the authorities have the right to keep this boy for another three years?

Sir S. Hoare

Yes, Sir. If the hon. Member is interested in the case and would like further details, I will gladly give them to him. I think that when he reads the details he will see that the decision is well justified.

Mr. Paling

When boys are sent out to work on farms, are they paid the ordinary wage?

Sir S. Hoare

That is another question. They are paid a wage.

Mr. Logan

Has this boy been honest while he has been under this farmer at 2s. a week?

Viscountess Astor

Is it not the case that it is the greatest kindness for people to take these boys?

Mr. Rowson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if this boy is kept away in this district as an agricultural labourer he will attain manhood on the very lowest wage in the country, whereas if he were allowed to come back before he is 18 years of age there would be the possibility of his getting a much more remunerative occupation in his own locality?

Sir S. Hoare

I have looked into this case and I think the decision is a wise one. I should be glad if the hon. Member would look at the details, and I think he will see that the whole circumstances are such that the decision is the right one.

Mr. Rawson

I accept the right hon. Gentleman's advice to consult him about the details, but I cannot allow the matter to rest where it is.