HC Deb 07 December 1938 vol 342 cc1181-2
81. Mr. McEntee

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies in what Colonies in addition to Uganda, children under 16 years of age are prohibited from working in industrial undertakings; and whether regulations governing the conditions of employment in all other forms of employment, similar to those now in force in Uganda, exist in any other and, if so, in which Colonies?

Mr. M. MacDonald

I am advised that Uganda is the only Colonial Dependency in which the minimum age prescribed for the employment of children in industrial undertakings is as high as i6 years. In the majority of the Dependencies, the minimum age is 14 years, which is the age prescribed in the convention on the subject which was adopted by the International Labour Conference in 1919. With regard to the second part of the question, the position is that in a few Colonies legislation exists under which the employment of children below a certain age is prohibited in any occupation; in certain others there is legislation prescribing a minimum age below which children and young persons are prohibited from entering into labour contracts; and in certain other territories, school attendance is compulsory for children up to a certain age. I do not regard this situation as satisfactory, and I recently addressed a circular despatch to all Colonial Governors requesting them to consider the enactment of legislation making it illegal to employ any child under a minimum age in any occupation. A copy of the despatch is being placed in the Library of the House.