HC Deb 20 February 1941 vol 369 cc261-2
2. Mr. David Adams

asked the Minister of Labour whether his circular of last July, recommending an immediate reduction of the hours of labour of adult males to 55 or 56 hours per week as soon as the necessary labour force had been acquired, is being fully observed?

Mr. Bevin

The circular to which the hon. Member refers did not recommend an immediate reduction, but contemplated that hours would be reduced progressively as the necessary labour became available. Progress is being made along these lines, and the position is under continuous review by my Department.

3. Mr. Adams

asked the Minister of Labour whether his attention has been drawn to a court case in which a magistrate dismissed a charge, brought against a firm, of working boys during longer hours than is permitted by law; whether other such cases have been brought to his notice; and whether he is taking steps to ensure, in the interests of sustained production, that the law relating to the hours of work of juveniles shall be fully enforced?

Mr. Bevin

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. I am not aware of other similar cases. I am advised by the Factory Department that, generally speaking, the hours of juveniles are now being effectively controlled through the Factory Acts and the Emergency Order procedure for regulating war-time hours.

Mr. Adams

Will the Minister agree that this is a matter of very great importance, so far as juvenile labour is concerned?

Mr. Bevin

I quite agree.