HC Deb 29 April 1958 vol 587 cc209-31

4.10 p.m.

Mr. Alfred Robens

I beg to move, in page 11, line 25, at the end to insert: and for the purposes of this section slaughtering should include the confinement at slaughterhouses of such animals awaiting slaughter and the keeping or subjecting to any treatment or process products of the slaughtering of such animals". It may be within the knowledge of the House that the Clause that we are now discussing is a new one, taking the place of the two or three pages which the Clause occupied in the original Bill. While the Bill was in Committee decisions were being taken elsewhere which had a bearing on the question of the Factories Act and slaughterhouses. It would be inappropriate for me to discuss the legal decision taken but, as a result, at no time in Committee did we discuss the Clause. There was a mutual agreement that it would be inappropriate to do so then.

The Government have now given us a new Clause 6, which adds to the Interpretation Clause of the Factories Act these words: the slaughtering of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, asses or mules. This means that for the purpose of the Factories Act the whole of the slaughterhouse is now covered by the regulations made under that Act.

The Amendment seeks to add words to include the lairage—the place where the animals await slaughter—and also to cover the keeping or subjecting to any treatment or process products of the slaughtering of such animals. We feel that when we are considering the welfare of workers in industries covered by the Factories Act we should extend the provisions as far as reasonable and as widely as possible. Anyone who has studied the Factories Act will understand why so many people, including the Minister of Labour, I am sure, place such tremendous emphasis on the regulations made under it. He will also understand why, in the Minister's Department, inspectors have duties which include making certain that Factories Act regulations are carried out.

In Section 151 of the Factories Act, which deals with interpretation, many kinds of premises are covered which are outside the premises upon which the usual manufacturing processes are conducted. For example, they include any yard or dry dock. We do not usually regard a dry dock as a place where a manufacturing process occurs, yet something is made there. Therefore, all the workers employed in a yard or a dry dock, where vessels are not merely being constructed but are often being broken up, are covered by these regulations. I shall not quote any of the other places which are covered. I merely use the dry dock as an example to illustrate my point that the regulations apply not necessarily to a building in which manufacturing processes take place, but also to many other kinds of places. It shows that the Factories Act is widely spread to catch and protect as many workers as possible.

The Amendment seeks to make sure that all the functions of slaughtering are brought within the provisions of the Factories Act. Hon. Members on this side of the House do not take the view that we can very easily divide up the various operations concerned with the slaughtering of animals. They begin from the moment when the animals are taken to the spot to be slaughtered. They begin from the moment when those responsible for the care of the animals begin to look after them, perhaps overnight, when the animals are in the lairage before being slaughtered. All that forms part of the slaughtering operations, otherwise the animals would not be there.

4.15 p.m.

Therefore, we take the view that the Factories Act should cover all those people who are in any way concerned with the slaughtering of animals or the preparation of products derived from the carcases. We say that the Act should apply to the lairage, which, I should think, would be regarded as the first stage in the slaughtering operations, and all the way to the production of the end product, processed meat obtained after slaughtering.

We feel that this is important by reason of the provisions of the Factories Act itself. It would be inappropriate to go into all the provisions of that Act now, but I think that it is important that I should draw attention to those provisions relating to health. Those provisions are particularly appropriate for application to a slaughterhouse, not only the hall where the slaughtering takes place but to all the other parts of a slaughterhouse, which include the lairage. It is very important that the health provisions of the Factories Act be applied to them.

For example, it is laid down under that Act that a factory must be kept in a clean state and free from effluvia arising from any drain. One can imagine the importance of this, because the drainage for the slaughterhall, the lairage, and all the buildings pertaining to the slaughterhouse would be interconnected. It would seem most inappropriate to enforce this provision for keeping drains from effluvia in one part of the drainage system and not to impose the same strict standard to the other part of the drainage extending to the lairage and other buildings, and which would not, so it seems to us, be covered by Clause 6 of the Bill at present.

Another very important provision of the Factories Act is that accumulations of dirt and refuse shall be removed daily. I should think it most appropriate to apply that provision to any place where live animals are and where inevitably there will be deposits of refuse. It may be that in a modern factory that provision would not be as necessary for the sake of health as it has been up to now, but in a place where live animals are, in a lairage, the daily removal of excreta and refuse must obviously be important.

The words which we suggest in the Amendment may not be the appropriate words. One would leave it to the Minister to determine what the appropriate words would be, but it seems an obvious necessity to include some such words in the Bill to make it certain beyond any doubt that the provisions of the Factories Act apply to the lairage and other parts of the slaughterhouse.

I could go on quite a while indicating what the regulations provide, or ought to provide, for ensuring the general health not only of those working in slaughterhouses, but of those whose habitations are round about slaughterhouses. For instance, my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, Central (Dr. Stross) has discoursed at great length upon the evils of bluebottle flies. I should think there is no place more likely than a lairage to produce large quantities of bluebottle flies.

As I said just now, I do not need to go in detail through all the provisions dealing with cleanliness, and those I have taken I have not chosen deliberately so much as because they happen to be among the first provisions laid down under the relevant Part of the Factories Act. It would be a mistake to apply the Factories Act as it is applied by Clause 6 without making it perfectly clear that we regard buildings like lairages as being within the scope of the operations of the slaughtering of cattle and sheep, and so on.

I myself do not see that in that new Clause all that we would seek to cover is covered. It may be that the Minister will be able to tell us that our fears are groundless, in which case we should have another look at it, but it seems to me, as far as I have been able to ascertain the matter, that unless some words like these in the Amendment, even if not precisely these words, are inserted in Clause 6 we shall not get that coverage which we want for those who work in and around slaughterhouses and knackers' yards.

The Clause deals not only with health, but also with safety and welfare. I do not want to take up the time of the House, and certainly not more than is necessary to make the case, or I could with facility draw attention to those provisions in the Factories Act relating to safety and welfare, provisions which, in our view, should cover all those who are working in and around slaughterhouses. However, I shall not do that, but say only that I think it is well known to those who take an interest in these matters that the Factories Act provides rather stringently for the protection of the safety and welfare of the workers. We feel that it is highly important that they should be comprehensive, and that Clause 6 should make it clear beyond a shadow of doubt that this House wants the Factories Act to cover all persons associated with the slaughtering of animals.

It is highly important that these health provisions should be applicable to all who have anything at all to do with the work of a slaughterhouse. It is known that quite a lot of meat goes to the public without being inspected. It is not our purpose to argue the reasons why. We have discussed it before during our debates on the Bill. However, meat which is inspected by a worker who is himself infected in some way, or is a carrier of infection, can have serious repercussions upon the health of the consumers of the meat when it arrives at their homes. So we are talking now not only of the health of the workers themselves.

It is highly important that the health safeguarding provisions should be related to the individual worker fairly stringently, because he or she is in a position to pass on ill-health to vast numbers of the population. In certain parts of the country there is 100 per cent. inspection of meat. Therefore, if there is infection from a carrier of ill-health in a slaughterhouse there is the possibility that it will be discovered by the inspection, but we have much evidence from medical officers of health throughout the country that in specific areas the proportion of meat not inspected is quite alarming. It is due to a variety of causes which we must not go into now, because they are not related to this Amendment. Nevertheless, no one can dispute the facts; there are those reports by medical officers of health, although I am not going to quote them because that would take up the time of the House unnecessarily. The health of the worker is important not only for his own sake, but for the sake of the consuming public, and that is a very good reason for the Amendment.

I have no doubt that the Minister, or the Minister of Labour, if he is going to deal with this matter, will say that there will be difficulty in applying the Factories Act in this way, but what I have just said is a very good reason why we should not be deterred by the problems of applying the Factories Act. I recognise that there may be difficulties. What I ask the right hon. Gentleman is: will he consider the administrative problem of applying that Act in relation to the great danger to the consuming public as a whole who, having received their meat unexamined, uninspected, then find it has been infected, because we have failed to provide stringent provisions relating to the health of the workers?

That is the case for the Amendment. It is designed in the interests of public health, because of the lack of adequate inspection. It is designed in the interests of the workers themselves, and in the interests of those who, for the time being, have to have their abode in and around slaughterhouses, which sometimes can be quite offensive. Even if the words of our Amendment do not prove to be the correct words to achieve our object, I hope that the Minister will be persuaded by the spirit of the Amendment and will say that its principle is worth adopting, and that he will produce other words, if these are not the right ones, to achieve the object.

Mr. R. E. Winterbottom (Sheffield, Brightside)

I do not intend to go into this matter at any great length because my right hon. Friend the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) has covered practically all the matters at issue. It would be folly to apply the Factories Act simply to that part of the buildings pertaining to a slaughterhouse which we ordinarily call the slaughterhouse without applying the Act to the other buildings, which may, necessarily, be separate from the slaughterhouse. It is essential that the Factories Act be applied to those buildings, too, as to the slaughterhouse itself.

The processing of the meat takes place in some of those buildings. For instance, there is the well-known Lancashire dish which is known as tripe. Facetiously, I could apply that to the Government, but I shall not. It is a by-product of cattle, and in some parts of the country it is looked upon as one of the most nourishing of foods. Tripe is certainly not cleaned in a slaughterhouse, and it is essential that to the processing of tripe, as, indeed, to the preparation of other meats, for instance, sausage, the greatest mystery of all, black puddings, and things of that description, the Factories Act provisions should apply. They should apply to the manufacturing outside of a slaughterhouse of the by-products of the slaughterhouse itself. That is essential in the interests of public health.

I have made probably thousands and thousands of pounds of sausage in places where it is quite easy to contaminate the sausage, and in my opinion it is essential that the provisions which are applied to the place of the slaughtering of the beasts themselves should be applied to those places where the carcases are processed in any way. I hope that the Minister will accept this Amendment so that the general public will have the guarantee that all the buildings, not only for the slaughtering of the cattle but for the processing of the meat, the buildings which are necessarily ancillary to the main business of slaughtering, shall be within the scope of the Factories Act.

4.30 p.m.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. J. B. Godber)

Clause 6 has had a somewhat chequered career, as the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) is aware. Hon. Gentlemen opposite will at least acquit us in respect of this Clause of some of the charges they have made about other Clauses. Clause 6 is easier to understand now than when it first appeared in the Bill. We claim that it is fairly simple.

I listened with care to the points made by the right hon. Gentleman and by his hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Winterbottom). I assure him that it is our wish and intention that lairages shall come within the Factories Act, 1937. There is nothing therefore between the two sides of the House on that point.

The right hon. Gentleman feared that the wording used in the Clause to relate slaughterhouses to the Factories Act did not cover lairages, and that the point may be open to doubt. I am advised that what we have done clearly brings them in. I must refer to Section 151 of the Factories Act. The right hon. Gentleman gave examples of other cases; I think that he mentioned a yard or a dry dock, but that was a very narrow point. I think he will agree if he looks at the Clause again, that Section 151 (1) sets out to make three general classifications of premises that come within the terms of the Act.

Paragraph (a) covers premises used for the making of any article or part of any article. Paragraph (b) covers premises used for altering, repairing, ornamenting, finishing, cleaning, or washing, or the breaking up or demolition of any article", while paragraph (c) covers premises used for the adapting for sale of any article". Those paragraphs are designed to embrace a very large number of premises and to make certain that those types of premises are brought within the scope of the Factories Act.

In Clause 6, we have not sought to bring premises within the terms of Section 151 in the way it has been done in the case of many other premises, by expecting that they would come within those three paragraphs and then writing in a Clause later to explain fully that they do. We have done a more definitive, clear and precise thing than that. We have brought them in by a new paragraph (d), which reads: the slaughtering of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, asses or mules", These premises are, therefore, in a clearer position than if we brought them in at a later stage. They are directly related to the subsequent words of Section 151 (1), so that at that point the subsection will read: (d) the slaughtering of cattle, sheep, swine, goats, horses, asses or mules; being premises in which, or within the close or curtilage or precincts of which, the work is carried on by way of trade or for purposes of gain and to or over which the employer of the persons employed therein has the right of access or control. Those words are directly related to the work of slaughtering and, I am advised, clearly include lairages within slaughterhouses, which is exactly what the right hon. Gentleman and his hon. Friend the Member for Brightside (Mr. Winter-bottom) are seeking to do by their Amendment. It seems a clearer definition than the right hon. Gentleman is asking for. I assure him that by doing it as we are, we are securing exactly what he wishes. He will see that the matter should be clear beyond a peradventure, which is the appropriate phrase to use here.

Mr. Robens

I will accept all that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary says, except for the interpretation of the words in the Factories Act, 1937. At one time I took a particular interest in derating from a business point of view and it gave me a good deal of experience in advising people how they could get de-rating where the work of processing was tied up with other work which was not entitled to derating.

The Section says: within the close or curtilage". All that one had to do to get derating of, say, the baking part of a confectioner's shop, was to make a separate entrance to the manufacturing part of the shop so that it could be let as a separate hereditament. In other words, we broke the curtilage by making that very small alteration.

We could, in fact, break the close or curtilage for a lairage quite easily and there would be no difficulty about it. For derating purposes that is frequently done. A sliding door is merely left open, and while, physically, the curtilage is not broken at all the fact that there is a sliding door, which may be closed so that part of the premises can be let separately within the derating Act, provides the separate curtilage.

If the Joint Parliamentary Secretary's interpretation of "curtilage" is correct, one could be satisfied, but one could still make a separate curtilage within the same group of buildings and under the same roof for the lairage or some other aspect of slaughtering. We are trying to provide against that, and I am endeavouring to secure a definition for the manufacturing process, but steps taken to secure derating would put the lairage outside the Factories Act. In many premises a good deal of separation of curtilages took place at the time of the derating Act, and many productive enterprises went on alongside retail enterprises in the same building in order to secure derating for the manufacturing side. Artificial breaking of the curtilage was carried out. These observations are based upon a good deal of personal experience.

Mr. Godber

This is a very important point and I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for his comments, which are extremely helpful. I should have thought that within the close or curtilage or precincts would have embraced that point, but in the light of what he has said I assure him that I will take careful note and look into the matter very carefully. If there is any element of doubt, I will see that it is cleared up. There is nothing between us; we want the matter to be covered.

Mr. Winterbottom

I know that establishments which are distinct from the slaughterhouse and deal with the processing of the meat are already covered by the Factories Act, but I have in mind premises like a tripe shop, where tripe is boiled, scrubbed and cleaned, which is usually done well away from the processing of articles like sausages. We should have an assurance from the Joint Parliamentary Secretary that he will look at this point to see that this type of shop is covered by the Factories Act.

Mr. Godber

The hon. Gentleman is very astute. He is trying to lead me astray. I would remind him that this is a Slaughterhouses Bill, and not tripe shop Bill.

Mr. Winterbottom

Tripe arises out of slaughtering.

Mr. Godber

It is a process consequential upon slaughtering. I could not give the hon. Gentleman the undertaking which he wishes. I am not certain, without notice, whether a tripe shop building comes within the Factories Act or not, and it would not be right and proper when dealing with this Bill to say otherwise. I agree that tripe is a by-product of slaughtering and has to be considered in relation to the Bill, but we had better stick to slaughterhouses and lairages.

Mr. Winterbottom

I am not being subtle in any form. I only want the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to avoid creating an anomaly where the processing of tripe takes place within the curtilage of a slaughterhouse and in a building separate from the slaughterhouse. It may be miles away from the slaughterhouse and not be covered by the Factories Act. There is a contradiction between the two.

Mr. Deputy-Speaker (Sir Charles MacAndrew)

The hon. Member should not fall into error by speaking more than once without leave.

Mr. Godber

If I have the leave of the House to speak again, I would say that while I am interested in the remarks of the hon. Member for Brightside I can hold out no hope of taking his point any further in the Bill, but I should have thought that these premises would he covered. I will merely repeat what I have said to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Blyth, that I will give very great care to investigating the point he raised. I understand that it is covered, but if it is not absolutely covered I will see that steps are taken to ensure that it is covered when the legislation reaches the Statute Book.

Mr. George Darling (Sheffield, Hillsborough)

May I ask the Joint Parliamentary Secretary whether his proposals include cold storage?

Mr. Godber

I should have thought not. If it did not come within the Bill before, it would not come within it now. It is not a matter of processing but purely of storing, and it would not come within the terms of Clause 6, which relates to slaughtering. I do not think that I could give any assurance in relation to premises of that type that are not now covered.

Mr. Darling

May I make an appeal to the Joint Parliamentary Secretary to consider this matter? Are we to understand that a worker who passes through a doorway from the slaughtering hall to the cold storage passes out of the realm of the Factories Act although he remains within the same building? I hope that the promise that the Joint Parliamentary Secretary has given, to look at this marker generally, covers the point I have raised about cold storage.

Mr. Somerville Hastings (Barking)

I am concerned not with lairages or cold storage but with ordinary meat, which I understand is covered by the Clause.

4.45 p.m.

Mr. Godber

Yes, any products of slaughtering, until they go into the butcher's shop, where they come under a different consideration, would be in the precincts of the slaughterhouse and, as such, would be covered.

Mr. F. H. Hayman (Falmouth and Camborne)

In relation to what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Hillsborough (Mr. Darling) and the reply of the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, I assume that slaughterhouses would be in the same position as bacon factories, which, I believe, already come under the Factories Act, as they have cold storage facilities.

Mr. Godber

Yes, I imagine that that is so.

Mr. Robens

In view of the assurance of the Joint Parliamentary Secretary, which I value very much because I agree with him that we are not at difference here and all want to establish the same thing, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Mr. Robens

I beg to move, in page 11, line 25, at the end to insert: Without prejudice to the powers of the Minister to make regulations under the Factories Act, 1937, the Minister, after consultation with the trade unions representing slaughterhouse workers and such organisations as appear to him to represent the interests concerned, may by regulation make provision for securing the safety health and welfare of, or any class of, persons employed under a contract of service or apprenticeship in any slaughterhouse. It will be within your knowledge, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that the Factories Act, 1937, is very largely based on powers given to Ministers to make regulations. If that were not so it would be hardly possible to administer the Act because of the changing conditions in industry which obviously, from time to time, must need a revision of regulations. With the inclusion of Clause 6, and particularly with the assurance the Joint Parliamentary Secretary has given, it is quite clear that the regulations the Minister will now have to provide to deal with these matters must be very exact. They must be exact because of the consequences on public health, which I described earlier.

The only purpose of this Amendment is to ensure that in making regulations the Minister shall have the best advice available. That is not meant in any way as a reflection on the advice tendered to him by the Civil Service, which, I am sure, is excellent advice, based on a great deal of research and consultation with others well able to help with advice, but it is very important that in an industry in which a joint industrial council, representative of both workers and employers, their views should be sought before regulations are made.

Perfectly proper and good regulations sometimes come to naught because they are not entirely observed. They are not entirely observed because, if they were carried out, that would be found highly inconvenient. Many safety regulations are not entirely ignored but are circumvented because they are highly inconvenient, sometimes to the employee and sometimes to the employer.

If an accident occurs, the party which has disobeyed the regulations can be summoned in the courts and, if the allegation is proved, that party can suffer heavy damages. Nevertheless, all of us with experience of industry know perfectly well that if all the safety regulations were carried out, on the railways and in industry generally, industry would begin to move at 15 per cent. to 20 per cent. more slowly. Good common sense is applied to regulations. In the old British way we get along and good comes out of them.

It is important that regulations should not be based on a theoretical approach to the problems of safety, health and welfare in industry, but guided by what is practical, what is possible and what might be tolerated. That is always very important. It must be in the mind of the Minister of Labour, when dealing with these matters, that the question is more often what will be tolerated than what is desirable. The Joint Industrial Council, I understand from both sides of the industry, works exceedingly well. The whole history of industrial peace in this industry indicates that that Council has worked extremely well. On it are represented the Federation of Wholesale Fresh Meat Traders of Great Britain and Ireland, the Fatstock Marketing Corporation, and the Co-operative Union.

Those three organisations have considerable knowledge and managerial experience in ownership and use of slaughterhouses. Then there is the National Federation of Meat Traders' Associations, which handles the meat on the distributive side. There are two trade unions, the Union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers which, perhaps, has the bulk of slaughtermen and others associated with the industry in membership, and the Transport and General Workers' Union, which also has membership in the industry. Those are two very big unions which have staff and expert officers who are well aware of the difficulties of employers and the practicability of carrying out safety regulations.

There lies immediately to hand a body of people very experienced and representing both workers and employers who have worked together most amicably through the years. I understand that they would be most ready to give what advice to the Minister they thought would be useful to him in framing regulations. It may well be that the Minister of Labour will advise the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food that when making regulations under the Factories Act he should consult people of that kind. It may be that assurances on those lines would be adequate, but, in order that we might have something from the Minister it is necessary to put down words in the form of an Amendment to deal with this question.

I do not say that this is by any means exclusive. Because I am so anxious that the Bill should reach the Statute Book as speedily as possible, I refrain from mentioning a whole host of other people, bodies and organisations most willing to give advice of a character which the Minister would find most useful. I do so only because I am certain that within the confines of the Ministry of Labour lies all the information and a lot more than I possess on this matter. I merely cite the people associated with the Joint Industrial Council as a body which comes to my mind and about which I have some knowledge. It is composed of people with great responsibilities in the trade, who undoubtedly would help, and would be glad to do so.

I hope that the Minister can see fit to accept an Amendment of this character. It makes quite clear that it is obviously without prejudice to the power of the Minister to make regulations, but we think that regulations which will be really useful in industry, particularly in this industry, are those which have been made with the help and assistance of those who have to work from day to day in the industry. In these terms of helpfulness on our part to make the Bill a workable one, although we have expressed views about it from time to time, I commend the Amendment.

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (Mr. John Hare)

I have great sympathy with what the right hon. Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) has said, but for reasons I can put forward and which, I hope, he will agree upon, I do not think it necessary that this Amnedment should be accepted. As I think he realises, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour has already got extremely wide powers, under both the 1937 and the 1948 Factories Acts, to make regulations adequate to meet the safety requirements which I think both sides of the House have in mind.

I do not think that there is very much doubt that the right hon. Member will agree with me in that. He spoke on this Amendment chiefly about proper consultation with interests concerned. He said that we wanted to have a practical, common sense approach towards safety regulations and that they must be regulations which are sensible and not an intolerable burden on the industry; that generally speaking, they should be practical rather than theoretical. That, I think, was the burden of the right hon. Gentleman's speech. The right hon. Member knows that under the present powers the Minister of Labour is responsible for carrying out the procedure set out in the Second Schedule. Under that Schedule, he has to publish draft regulations in the London Gazette and in such other way he thinks proper to ensure that people are informed of his intentions.

The matter does not stop there. In practice, the Minister of Labour produces preliminary drafts of the regulations he has in mind which are sent to the trade unions, the employers and other interested associations. The comments of those various bodies are invited and carefully considered before the next stage in drafting occurs. If strong objections are raised for practical reasons, the Minister of Labour is prepared to initiate discussions with organisations on points they have in mind. I think that the House should be satisfied that the existing procedure under the Factories Act works well. So far as I know, both the trade unions and employers and other interested associations are satisfied with the way in which the present machinery is working. They find that it provides them with proper opportunity to put forward their views and to have those views considered before regulations are laid before Parliament.

Both sides of the House are at one on this matter. I sympathise with the fears that the right hon. Member had in mind, but I am satisfied that the existing procedure covers what, in fact, we both want.

Mr. Eric Fletcher (Islington, East)

It seems to me that the Minister has completely missed the point. If he refers to the Second Schedule of the Factories Act, to which he has made reference, he will see that it deals merely with procedure for making special regulations under Sections 71, 73 and 129 of that Act.

I do not want to weary the House, although it must be admitted that this is the first time I have taken part in these discussions. If the Minister will look at Section 71 he will see that the Second Schedule provides machinery for regulations merely referring to reduction of hours of work of young persons. Section 73 deals with the overtime employment of women, and young persons under 16.

5.0 p.m.

I support, and emphasise, my right hon. Friend's argument, with which the Minister has not dealt at all. What my right hon. Friend is stressing is that there should be an addition to Clause 6 which is, in effect, an addition to the Factories Act, 1937, giving the Minister, after consultation with the appropriate trade unions, power to make provision by regulation …for securing the safety, health and welfare of … persons employed under a contract of service or apprenticeship in any slaughterhouse. If the Minister looks at this again, he will see that there is nothing in the Second Schedule of the 1937 Act which deals with this matter at all. It is perfectly true that by Section 60, the Minister has power to make certain regulations for safety and health, but there is nothing in that Section to bring the Second Schedule into operation at all. What all of us on this side want is to secure some appropriate addition to the provisions of Section 60 in relation to the operation of slaughterhouses.

Those of us who have had any experience of the operation of the Factories Act, whether relating to the regulations made by Ministers or to the administration of the inspectors for the safety, health and welfare of persons employed in factories, are aware that loopholes do, from time to time, arise. We have all had occasion to review circumstances in which the regulations made for the safety of the workpeople employed in a particular factory or to deal with general standards of health, hygiene and welfare, are defective.

In my experience, those defects and omissions very often arise, as my right hon. Friend has said, because of the Minister's failure to have adequate consultation with the persons who have day to day experience of work in these factories. Now that we are incorporating slaughterhouses in the general application of the Act, it is most important that the wide experience of employees in slaughterhouses, and of the trade unions that represent them, should be harnessed so as to ensure that these regulations are made as effective as possible.

I hope, therefore, that the Minister will not reject this proposal in the rather cavalier manner, if I may so term it, with which he treated it just now. I think that he has completely missed its point. It is a proposal of great substance, and I cannot see that it can possibly do any harm. It does not fetter the Minister's hands at all. It is expressed to be without prejudice to any existing regulation making powers that he may have. It really is intended to give him some additional powers and I think that it is totally unreasonable that the Government should resist such a moderate and sensible Amendment.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

I fully agree with the Minister when he says that we share the objectives of Clause 6, and for that reason I think that his reply is thoroughly unsatisfactory. I will explain why, but, first, I should like to say that we are very much obliged to the Minister of Labour for being with us today.

It has been generally agreed that the provisions for making regulations under the Factories Act are far from satisfactory. I recall, in aid, an illustration with which the right hon. Gentleman is thoroughly familiar—safety regulations for wet docks. Under the present procedure, that matter has been under consideration for seven years. I should have thought that the Minister of Labour would agree that, nowadays, the best way to deal with delegated legislation is the way in which we customarily deal with it; by having provision for regulation-making powers and provision for consultation. It is generally agreed that the procedure under the Factories Act is unsatisfactory and out of date. That is my first point.

My second point is that the actual powers themselves have been open to good deal of criticism. In fact, as the [...]ight hon. Gentleman himself said, the provisions of the 1937 Act were amended in 1948. Our experience of the amended provision shows that they are far from satisfactory because of their detailed definition. There has been a very important change in our approach to delegated legislation. We now avoid any detailed definition.

I think that the Minister of Labour will concede that the present provisions are unsatisfactory and, in turn, I would concede the difficulty of amending for one particular trade, the piecemeal amendment of general legislation. I concede that at once, but, at the same time, the House has to make a decision, and say that if there is no provision for a general agreement we must safeguard the interests of the trade by making such a provision as is contained in the Amendment.

My third, and last, point—and it is not without substance—is that we are quite deliberately giving the Minister of Agriculture regulation-making powers. I can quite understand the Minister of Labour fiercely resisting this. I can well appreciate his point of view, but we have to recognise that the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food has wide powers in relation to slaughterhouses and that many of those powers overlap provisions that will be made for safety, health and welfare. For those reasons we think it appropriate and proper that the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food should have these powers.

We realise too, as my right hon. Friend the Member for Blyth (Mr. Robens) pointed out, that in exercising such powers for safety, health and welfare, the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food would go beyond the provisions of the 1937 Act, and our views are indicated by an Amendment which we realise is out of order, and will not, therefore, be called.

We quite recognise that if this Amendment is accepted, the Minister will have powers such as we have indicated we want him to have. Quite frankly, on such questions as medical examination, we cannot draw a line between health, safety and welfare—strictly so called—and the general position with regard to the welfare of the trade, and the protection we should afford to people who eat meat.

I therefore hope that the Minister will agree that his reply was inadequate, that there are very good reasons for our pressing this Amendment, that he should resist the understandable approach made to him by his right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour by saying that his primary duty is to safeguard the industry for which he is responsible, and that he will, therefore, accept the Amendment.

Mr. John Hare

With the permission of the House, Mr. Deputy-Speaker I should like to comment on the speeches of the hon. Members for Islington, East (Mr. E. Fletcher) and Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey). I hate to argue with so learned a gentleman as the hon. Member for Islington East, but if he looks at Section 60 of the Act he will see that, as he says, it deals with special regulations for safety and health. If he then looks at

Division No. 98.] AYES [5.13 p.m.
Ainsley, J. W. Fernyhough, E. Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson
Albu, A. H. Fletcher, Eric McAlister, Mrs. Mary
Aliaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Foot, D. M. MacColl, J. E.
Allen, Arthur (Bosworth) Forman, J. C. McGhee, H. G.
Allen, Soholefield (Crewe) Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) McGovern, J.
Awbery, S. S. Gailskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N. McInnes, J.
Bacon, Miss Alice Gibson, C. W. McKay, John (Wallsend)
Balfour, A, Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. McLeavy, Frank
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Grey, C. F. MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
Bence, C. R. (Dunbartonshire, E.) Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Mahon, Simon
Benson, Sir George Griffiths, William (Exchange) Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
Blackburn, F. Hall, Rt. Hn. Glenvil (Colne Valley) Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfd, E.)
Boardman, H. Hamilton, W. W. Mann, Mrs. Jean
Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Hannan, W. Mason, Roy
Bowden, H. W. (Leicester, S.W.) Harrison, J. (Nottingham, N.) Mayhew, C. P.
Boyd, T. C. Hastings, s. Mellish, R. J.
Braddock, Mrs. Elizabeth Hayman, F. H. Messer, Sir F.
Brockway, A. F. Healey, Denis Mitchison, G. R.
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Henderson, Rt. Hn. A. (Rwly Regis) Monslow, W.
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper) Herbison, Miss M. Moody, A. S.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hewitson, Capt. M. Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)
Burke, W. A. Hobson, C. R. (Keighley) Mort, D. L.
Burton, Miss F. E. Holman, P. Moss, R.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Holmes, Horace Moyle, A.
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Houghton, Douglas Neal, Harold (Bolsover)
Callaghan, L. J. Howell, Charles (Perry Barr) Noel-Baker, Franois (Swindon)
Carmichael, J. Hoy, J. H. Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. (Derby. S.)
Castle, Mrs. B. A. Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Oram, A. E.
Champion, A. J. Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Orbach, M.
Chapman, W. D. Hunter, A. E. Oswald, T.
Chetwynd, G. R. Hynd, H. (Accrington) Owen, W. J.
Clunie, J. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Padley, W. E.
Coldrick, W. Irving, Sydney (Dartford) Paget, R. T.
Collick, P. H. (Birkenhead) Janner, B. Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)
Collins, V. J. (Shoreditch & Finsbury) Jay, Rt. Hon. D. P. T. Palmer, A. M. F.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jeger, George (Goole) Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)
Cove, W. G. Jeger, Mrs. Lena(Holbn & St. Pnos, S.) Pargiter, G. A.
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Parkin, B. T.
Crossman, R. H. S. Johnson, James (Rugby) Paton, John
Darling, George (Hillsborough) Johnston, Douglas (Paisley) Pearson, A.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.) Jones, David (The Hartlepools) Peart, T. F.
Deer, G. Jones, Elwyn (W. Ham, S.) Pentland, N.
Delargy, H. J. Jones, J. Idwai (Wrexham) Popplewell, E.
Diamond, John Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Prentice, R. E.
Dugdale, Rt. Hn. John (W. Brmwch) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
Dye, S. Lawson, G. M. Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C. Ledger, R. J. Probert, A. R.
Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly) Lee, Frederick (Newton) Proctor, W. T.
Edwards, W. J. (Stepney) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Rankin, John
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Lindgren, G. S. Redhead, E. C.
Evans, Edward (L[...]westoft) Lipton, Marcus Reeves, J.
Logan, D. G.

Section 129 (1, b) he will see that it reads: the provisions contained in the Second Schedule to this Act shall apply to all such regulations as are in this Act referred to as 'special regulations'.

I therefore think that the hon. and learned Gentleman will agree that the regulations to be made under Section 60 are covered by the procedure laid down in the Second Schedule—and that should also allay certain fears expressed by the hon. Member for Sunderland, North. I honestly do not think that there is a great deal between us, and I hope that the assurance I have given can be accepted.

Question put, That those words be there inserted in the Bill:—

The House divided: Ayes Noes 244.

Reid, William Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall) Wheeldon, w. E.
Robens, Rt. Hon. A. Stross, Dr. Barnett(Stoke-on-Trent, C.) White, Mrs. Eirene (E. Flint)
Roberts, Albert (Normanton) Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E. Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon) Sylvester, G. O. Willey, Frederick
Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield) Williams, David (Neath)
Ross, William Taylor, John (West Lothian) Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Ab'tillery)
Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E. Thomas, George (Cardiff) Williams, Rt. Hon. T. (Don Valley)
Silverman, Julius (Aston) Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.) Willis, Eustace (Edinburgh, E.)
Silvenman, Sydney (Nelson) Thomson, George (Dundee, E.) Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)
Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill) Thornton, E. Winterbottom, Richard
Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke, N.) Tomney, F. Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Sorensen, R. W. Ungoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn Woof, R. E.
Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank Usborne, H. C. Yates, V. (Ladywood)
Sparks, J. A. Viant, S. P. Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
Stewart, Michael (Fulham) Weitzman, D. Zilliacus, K.
Stonehouse, John Wells, William (Walsall, N.) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Stones, W. (Consett) West, D. G. Mr. Short and Mr. G. H. R. Rogers.
Agnew, Sir Peter Finlay, Graeme Kershaw, J. A.
Al[...]ken, W. T. Fisher, Nigel Kimball, M.
Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.) Fletcher-Cooke, C. Lancaster, Col. C. G.
Alport, C. J. M. Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone) Langford-Holt, J. A.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.) Frase[...], Sir Ian (M'cmbe & Lonsdale) Leather, E. H. C.
Amory, Rt. Hn. Heathcoat (Tiverton) Freet[...], Denzil Leavey, J. A.
Anstru[...]her-Gray, Major Sir William Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Leburn, W. G.
Arbuthnot, John Gammans, Lady Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.
Atkins, H. E. Garner-Evans, E. H. Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
Baldwin, A. E. George, J. C. (Pollok) Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.
Balniel, Lord Gibson-Watt, D. Lindsay, Hon. James (Devon, N.[...]
Barber, Anthony Glover, D. Lindsay, Martin (Solihull)
Barlow, Sir John Glyn, Col. Richard H. Linstead, Sir H. N.
Barter, John Godber, J. B. Llewellyn, D. T.
Baxter, Sir Beverley Good[...]art, Philip Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
Beamish, Col. Tufton Gower, H. R. Longden, Gilbert
Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.) Graham, Sir Fergus Low, Rt. Hon. Sir Toby
Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.) Grant, W. (Woodside) Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth) Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich) McAdden, S. J.
Bidgood, J. C. Green, A, Macdonald, Sir Peter
Biggs-Davison, J. A. Gresham Cooke, R. McKibbin, Alan
Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel Grimond, J. Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
Bishop, F. P. Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans) McLaughlin, Mrs. P.
Bowen, E. R. (Cardigan) Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury) Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A. Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G. Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Lancaster)
Boyle, Sir Edward Gurden, Harold McLean, Neil (Inverness)
Braine, B. R. Hall, John (Wycombe) MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)
Brooke, Rt. Hon. Henry Hare, Rt. Hon. J. H. Macmillan. Rt. Hn. Harotd (Bromley)
Browne, J. Nixon (Craigton) Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Macmillan, Maurice (Halifax)
Bryan, P. Harris, Reader (Heston) Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)
Bullus, Wing Commander E. E. Harrison, A. B. C. (Maldon) Maddan, Martin
Butcher, Sir Herbert Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye) Markham, Major Sir Frank
Butler, Rt. Hn. R. A. (Saffron Walden) Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Marlowe, A. A. H.
Campbell, Sir David Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.) Marshall, Douglas
Carr, Robert Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Mathew, R.
Cary, Sir Robert Heath, Rt. Hon. E. R. G. Mawby, R. L.
Channon, Sir Henry Henderson, John (Cathcart) Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
Chichester-Clark, R. Henderson-Stewart, Sir James Milligan, Rt. Hon. W. R.
Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.) Hesketh, R. F. Molson, Rt. Hon. Hugh
Cooke, Robert Hicks-Beach, Maj. W. W. Moore, Sir Thomas
Cooper, A. E. Rill, Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton) Morrison, John (Salisbury)
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Hill, Mrs. E. (Wythenshawe) Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles
Corfield, Capt. F. V. Hinchingbrooke, Viscount Nabarro, G. D. N.
Craddock, Beresford (Spe[...]thorne) Hirst, Geoffrey Nairn, D. L. S.
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E. Holland-Martin, C. J. Neave, Airey
Crowder, Sir John (Finchley) Hope, Lord John Nicholls, Harmar
Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood) Hornby, R. P. Nicholson, Sir Godfrey (Farnham)
Currie, G. B. H. Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P. Nicolson, N. (B'n'm'th, E. & Chr'ch)
Dance, J. C. G. Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire) Noble, Comdr. Rt. Hon. Alian
Davidson, Viscountess Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives) Nugent, G. R. H.
D'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Hu[...]bert, Sir Norman O'Neill, Hn. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
Deedes, W. F. Hurd, A. R. Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Hutchison Michael Clark(E'b'gh, S.) Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
Dodds-Parker, A. D. Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark(E'b'gh, W.) Osborne, C.
Doughty, C. J. A. Hyde, Montgomery Page, R. G.
du Cann, E. D. L. Hylton-Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir Harry Pannell, N. A. (Kirkdale)
Duncan, Sir James Iremonger, T. L. Peel, W. J.
Duthie, W. S. Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich) Peyton, J. W. W.
Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West) Jennings, J. C. (Burton) Pickthorn, K. W. M.
Elliott, R.W.(Ne'castle upon Tyne, N.) Jennings, Sir Roland (Hallam) Pike, Miss Mervyn
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Pilking,on, Capt. R. A.
Erroll, F. J. Joynson-Hicks, Hon. Sir Lancelot Pitman, I. J.
Farey-Jones, F. W. Kerby, Capt. H. B. Pitt, Miss E. M.
Kerr, Sir Hamilton
Powell, J. Enoch Speir, R. M. Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.) Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard Vickers, Miss Joan
Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L. Stevens, Geoffrey Wade, D. W.
Ramsden, J. E. Steward, Sir William (Woolwich, W.) Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
Rawlinton, Peter Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. M'lebone)
Redmayne, M. Storey, S. Walker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Remnant, Hon. P. Studholme, Sir Henry Wall, Patrick
Renton, D. L. M. Summers, Sir Spencer Ward, Dame Irene (Tynemouth)
Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne) Watkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Robertson, Sir David Taylor, William (Bradford, N.) Webbe, Sir H.
Rob[...]nson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.) Teeling, W. Whitelaw, W. S. I.
Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks) Temple, John M. Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Roper, Sir Harold Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury) Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard Thompson, Kenneth (Walton) Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Sharples, R. C. ThorneycrofI, Rt. Hon. P. Woollam, John Victor
Shepherd, William Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin Yates, William (The Wrekin)
Smithers, Peter (Winchester) Tilney, John (Wavertree) TELLERS FOR THE NOES[...]
Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood) Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H. Mr. Oakshott and
Spearman, Sir Alexander Vane, W. M. F. Mr. Hughes-Young.