HC Deb 30 June 1964 vol 697 cc1137-8
Q7. Mr. Swingler

asked the Prime Minister if, in view of the contents of the letter addressed to him on 23rd June by the British Sanitary Pottery Manufacturers, he will request the Ministers of Labour and Health to raise standards of hygiene by issuing new regulations.

The Prime Minister

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Labour has just made regulations about washing facilities to be provided in offices, shops and railway premises after giving careful consideration to the representations received from the Council of British Sanitary Pottery Manufacturers. The Food Hygiene Regulations, 1960, which cover food shops and catering establishments, already deal with the provision of washing facilities for food handlers.

Mr. Swingler

Are not the sanitary potters right in thinking that in this matter their interests and public virtue march together? Will not the Prime Minister now respond to the very simple proposal that they make, that he should issue a directive to all departments concerned and to all public authorities to ensure that in their own actions and in the regulations they make, wash basins are expressly to be provided in lavatories? Will he do that?

The Prime Minister

It is already done. [HON. MEMBERS: "Where?"] Hon. Members ask where, and I will tell them. Under the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act, it is already required that washing facilities shall be provided in places conveniently accessible to persons employed. It is already a fact, under our legislation. I will consult my right hon. Friend to see whether any further action is necessary in respect of local authorities.

Mr. Milne

Is the Prime Minister aware that the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Regulations do not apply to travelling shops, and that travelling food shops create a tremendous danger in this respect? Will he consider this question a great deal more closely than he appears to be doing at the moment?

The Prime Minister

I do not know how one deals with a travelling wash basin, but I will certainly consider the matter.

Sir J. Duncan

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the fact that the Food and Drugs Act and the Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Act have both been passed by a Tory Government—so that the necessary legislation to deal with the problem already exists—is a very fortunate thing?

The Prime Minister

That is so. The question of the mobile shop is being taken into account by local authorities. They are being consulted in this matter.

Mr. Prentice

Is the Prime Minister aware that it took a Conservative Government 13 years to pass legislation after the Gowers Committee had recommended it? Is he further aware that after taking the workers covered by this legislation and those covered by Factories Acts there are still millions of workers who are not covered by either piece of legislation? Is it not urgent that provision should be made for them and what has the Government to say about that?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman may put down a Question about people who are not covered by legislation.