HC Deb 10 July 1939 vol 349 cc1815-6
77. Mr. Ridley

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether any applications made under Section 71 of the Factory Act, 1936, have been declined; and, if so, to what industries the applications were related?

The Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department (Mr. Peake)

I would refer the hon. Member to the full reply given to the hon. Member for the Western Division of Fifeshire (Mr. Gallacher) on 29th June.

78. Mr. Ridley

asked the Home Secretary how many young persons are covered by each of the draft orders now issued under Section 71 of the Factory Act, 1939, relating to the cotton, woollen and carpet industries?

Mr. Peake

The three industries mentioned are dealt with in one set of draft Regulations, and, except for young persons who are already in employment when the Regulations come into operation, they apply only to young persons of 15 years of age and over. According to the reports of the inquiries there are 38,190 young persons under 16 employed in these industries, and it is estimated that of this number about 23,000 will be between 15 and 16. Of these, 12,530 are in cotton; 8,570 in woollen and worsted; and 1,800 in carpets.

Mr. Ridley

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that these figures will be a very considerable disappointment to many Members of the House? Is he further aware that, when this provision was inserted in the Factories Bill giving the Secretary of State power to extend the hours from 44 to 48 in the case of young people between the ages of 14 and 16, it was regarded as a power to be used only in very special and exceptional circumstances; and can we have an assurance that its use will not be continued in such a fashion that it becomes general, instead of being, as it should be, particular and special?

Mr. Peake

As the hon. Member is aware, these regulations have to be laid before Parliament, and, of course, when they are, they can be fully discussed.