HC Deb 19 May 1953 vol 515 cc1858-9
26. Mr. Keenan

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he is aware that sanitary facilities for dockworkers are out of date, insufficient and afford no privacy; and whether he will introduce legislation to enable local authorities to exercise supervision of such facilities in dock estates.

Mr. H. Macmillan

No, Sir; but if the hon. Member would let me know of any cases he has in mind, I will have inquiries made.

Mr. Keenan

Is the Minister aware that on Merseyside, in which I am interested, the lavatories are old and very primitive, that there is no privacy whatever, and that there are no ladies' lavatories of any kind on the Liverpool or Merseyside dock estates? Is the right hon. Gentleman further aware that the local authorities and the port sanitary authority have no power to make those responsible for dock estates carry out these very necessary sanitary provisions because the Factories Act, 1937, does not apply?

Mr. Macmillan

Perhaps the hon. Member would be good enough to come and see me and discuss this matter. If, as he says, neither I nor any other Minister has statutory authority, it may well be a question which we ought to consider with a view to ameliorating it.

Mrs. Braddock

Is the Minister aware that this matter has received consideration by the health committee in Liverpool for the past 20 years and that the difficulty seems to be that nobody can say exactly whose responsibility it is to deal with the matter? Will the right hon. Gentleman look at the present legislation and see whether he can assess the position and give the local authorities some guidance as to their responsibility or the responsibility of the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board?

Mr. Macmillan

I will certainly look at the matter, but it will very likely prove to be a case neither for my Department nor for the local authorities, but rather for some alteration of the Factories Act or other similar legislation.

Mr. Isaacs

Will the Minister look at the experience in the London Docks of a couple of years ago, when a similar problem arose and steps were taken considerably to improve the situation?

Mr. Macmillan

The right hon. Gentleman will realise that I ought to consult with my right hon. Friends. It is really a matter of general discussion if action were decided to be necessary.

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