HC Deb 17 February 1944 vol 397 cc321-2
15. Mr. Rhys Davies

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will state the total number of children attending our elementary schools, boys and girls respectively; how many of them are employed, respectively, out of school hours; and whether all the education authorities have now adopted by-laws regulating such employment.

Mr. H. Morrison

I am informed by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Education that about 4,500,000 children were attending public elementary schools last October. During the war—owing to the necessity of cutting down clerical work—returns of the number of school children employed have not been collected, and the latest figures available are for 1937, when about 70,000 boys and 10,000 girls were employed. By-laws regulating the employment of children have been made by 313 out of the 316 local authorities empowered to make by-laws. The general provisions of Section 18 (1) of the Children and Young Persons Act, 1933, and the Defence (Agriculture and Fisheries) Regulations, 1939, apply in all areas.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Is it possible for the Minister to issue a reminder to the small number of local authorities who have not got these by-laws to induce them to take steps to do so, and has there been an increase in the number of children employed during the war?

Mr. Morrison

I could not give the answer to the last part of the question without notice. With regard to the local authorities, I think it is regrettable that they have not made the by-laws, but I will do all I can in the matter.

Mr. Glenvil Hall

May I ask the Minister whether his Department has any knowledge whether all the local authorities which have the by-laws are really putting them into force?

Mr. Morrison

I think that, generally speaking, they are.

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