HC Deb 21 December 1938 vol 342 cc2866-7
40. Mr. Barr

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether his attention has been drawn to paragraph 41 of the Report of Employment of Juveniles Committee, Kenya protectorate, in which it is stated that drinking among juveniles in employment does occur; and whether he will take steps to see that in Kenya there is a stricter enforcement of the Native Liquor Ordinance which prohibits the sale of liquor to persons under the apparent age of 18, and whether he will either insist that all employers of juvenile labour shall be made responsible for safeguarding their well-being during the term of such employment, or consider the advisability of abolishing child labour in the colony?

Mr. M. MacDonald

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The Governor, with my approval, has adopted the Committee's report which includes, inter alia, a proposal that the Native Liquor Ordinance should be more closely applied. The Committee pointed out that employers are already under various statutory obligations in regard to the welfare of their servants, but drew attention to the desirability of close control by employers of juveniles outside working hours and of adequate facilities being provided for education and healthy recreation. I have no reason to doubt that such steps as are practicable will be taken by the Government of Kenya to ensure the observance of these recommendations.

Mr. R. Gibson

Can the right hon. Gentleman say how many prosecutions were instituted during last year for contraventions of this Native Liquor Ordinance?

Mr. MacDonald

Not without notice.

Mr. Edmund Harvey

Will the right hon. Gentleman undertake a close review of the conditions of labour in that country?

Mr. MacDonald

I am sure that the Governor will do that.

64. Mr. David Adams

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies whether, in view of the fact that children in Kenya may be transported to labour lines far from their homes, in certain cases to a distance of over 500 miles, he proposes to take steps to provide that the employable age for such distant employment is raised to 14 years?

Mr. MacDonald

I would refer the hon. Member to answers which I gave to questions that were asked on this subject on 14th December.

Mr. Adams

Does not the Minister agree that the age of 14 is still a tender one, in view of the disabilities under which these children may live?

Mr. MacDonald

The whole question was gone into carefully by the committee of inquiry, and I accepted their findings on the matter for the reasons given in their report.

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