HC Deb 02 July 1942 vol 381 cc478-9
5. Mr. Kenneth Lindsay

asked the Minister of Labour what steps he has now taken to correct the excessive number of hours being worked by boys and girls under the age of 18?

Mr. Bevin

In any case where excessive hours are worked contrary to law I take corrective action directly my attention is called to it. As regards the matter generally, I am in consultation with my right honourable Friend the President of the Board of Education in order to ascertain what evidence there is to warrant my taking further steps.

Mr. Lindsay

Would the Minister, in view of the difficulties of interpreting the pre-war legislation, consider the imposition of maximum hours for boys and girls aged 14 to 16 and 16 to 18?

Mr. Bevin

To deal with this question of hours in a piecemeal way might lead to more anomalies. I have to get evidence upon which any action is to be based, and I am studying the problem to see how I can produce the same result by regulations allowing for some adaptation and flexibility, a very desirable thing in industry.

Mr. Radford

Does the Minister not agree that the experience of most of us is that we were more fit for hard work and long hours at those ages than we were in later years?