HC Deb 07 July 1942 vol 381 cc633-4
38. Mr. David Adams

asked the Minister of Agriculture what safeguards are provided against the overworking of schoolchildren employed upon farms situated in isolated districts of the country, particularly as the billeting householder and not the parent can give the required permission for the child to work?

Mr. T. Williams

It is for local education authorities to make such arrangements for the supervision of schoolchildren working in agriculture as they consider necessary to prevent infringement of the law. As regards permission for children to work, it has been made clear that this is to be sought from the father of the child if he is available, or from the mother if he is not. It is only where neither parent can be communicated with that the signature of some other person having actual custody of the child should be accepted.

Mr. Adams

Is the Minister aware that last year after the harvest there were many complaints of the overworking of children in out-of-the-way farms, and therefore, will he make provision for at least one unexpected visit in the season to such farms?

Mr. Williams

We hope, of course, that the local education authorities in remote rural areas will see that the Regulation is not abused by farmers. There is, however, the additional safeguard that the War Agricultural Executive Committees have been instructed to pay special attention to any children who may be called upon to work in agriculture.