HL Deb 29 April 1963 vol 249 cc6-24

2.45 p.m.

Report of Amendments received (according to Order).

Clause 1 [Premises to which this Act applies]:

LORD SHEPHERD moved, in subsection (1). after the first "are" to insert: "subject to the next following section". The noble Lord said: My Lords, I beg to move the first Amendment which appears on the Marshalled List. Perhaps it would be convenient if I speak to Amendments Nos. 2 and 3 also. The Committee stage some two or three weeks ago ended on a note of division, which meant that we were not able to pass the usual thanks and appreciation to the three Ministers in charge of the Bill. Therefore, at this early stage I should like to express our thanks to them for the manner in which they dealt with our Amendments—perhaps not always helpfully, but certainly always courteously. But when we look at the Marshalled List we can see that our time was not ill spent, for there are a number of important Amendments put down by the Government following upon that Committee stage.

I should like to thank the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, for the letter which he sent us dealing with a number of points that had arisen on the Committee stage, some of which we shall have to come back to. I also should like to say to Lord Carrington how pleased we were to see the Report which appeared last week, certainly that part which related to the noble Lord himself. There has never been any doubt on this side of the House that the noble Lord always gives close attention to his work and his duties, and I believe some of the consequences of the Committee stage can be attributed to the work put in by the noble Lord between the two stages of the Bill.

The purpose of these three Amendments is obviously to enlarge the scope of this Bill. The Bill at this stage deals merely with the workers connected with office, shop and railway premises. My noble friend Lord Latham in his own Amendment drew the Committee's attention to the position in hospitals, the road transport depôts and other places. I particularly drew attention to the garbage collectors and sewerage workers who perform a very dirty type of job, and I endeavoured to compare their conditions with those of the workers in the mines and the factories and with those of the people who will be covered by this particular Bill.

I would again remind the House that twelve years have elapsed since the Report of the Gowers Committee, in relation to which the Government have been warm, then lukewarm, and then cool; but while they have come to the boil in the production of this Bill, it still leaves 5 million workers outside its protection. The noble Lord, Lord Robertson of Oak-ridge, drew our attention to the way in which the Government regard the position of the railways as opposed to that of the road transport depôts. Here the Government are willing to lay a heavy responsibility, perhaps a heavy cost, on the railway operators in the provision of these necessities for their workers, yet they are not prepared to lay the same obligation on the road transport hauliers. The Government must face up to the fact that at some time or another these workers must be given protection. The Government must live up to the protestations they made at the last General Election that they were going to produce a workers' charter. A workers' charter means very little if it includes but a percentage of the workers and leaves a large number outside it.

I should like to draw the special attention of the noble Lord, Lord Newton, to the position obtaining in the hospitals. He may have seen the report in the Nursing Times about nurses coming out of operating theatres and, because there are inadequate facilities for baths, having to go home smelling of anæsthetic. This obviously is not a very pleasant situation for those travelling in buses and trains, and certainly not very pleasant for the nurses themselves. Therefore, my Lords, I would suggest to the Government that it would be possible, within this Bill, if we increased its flexibility somewhat, for the Minister from time to time, according to his judgment, to bring in the different categories of workers who are at present excluded.

I follow again the theme of the nurse. It is a fact that the clerical staff in hospitals are going to be protected; their premises will be inspected by one of the inspectors of the local authority. In the case of the coal depôts, the persons working there will be protected and their premises will be inspected. There is, therefore, no reason why we should not see that the transport drivers connected with the coal depôt have the same facilities made available to them. All this could come if there were an increased degree of flexibility.

The noble Lord, Lord Carrington, when he opposed the Amendments that we moved on Committee stage, made the case that we were already taking on a considerable task. We on this side of the House have freely recognised the scope of the problem. But we also feel that with time all this can be dealt with. Perhaps the task will be heavier if the enforcement of the provisions of this Bill is carried forward quickly and to the maximum effect. Enforcement will be the major factor. Therefore we feel that if we could give this Bill a little more flexibility—because it is already flexible—by the acceptance of our Amendment, which is certainly merely permissive, it would mean that the Minister, without having the necessity to bring forward further legislation, would be able to deal by order with the various occupations that are now outside the Bill.

I think the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, will freely recognise, as we heard at Question Time, that one of the major problems for Parliament is to find time for legislation. The noble Lord probably remembers the Weights and Measures Bill. Was it in 1961 that we had a full and long debate and then lost the Bill? Last year the calendar was so full that we could not get it. It is only now that we are able to get it. There was also the Shops Bill. As I see the problem of the Government it is this. If they wished to bring forward protection for these 5 million people, who are divided into many small occupations and may not rank in importance and size, and who are certainly not vocal, the Government would find time, or would be willing to find time, for legislation to be brought before Parliament. Therefore, one of the objects of this Amendment is to see that we bring about an improvement in the working conditions of these people without having to go to the extent of finding the time for a Bill. As I said earlier this Amendment is to give the Bill some flexibility.

My Lords, I think it was the noble Lord, Lord Newton, who, when speaking on the question of warehouses, drew our attention to the fact that the warehouses he had in mind were the wholesale warehouses. I asked him then: what was the position of packing and forwarding agents, and furniture depositories? The noble Lord did not then know the answer, but I have now heard from the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that it is not the intention of the Government to include within the provisions warehouses which do not come within the normal chain of wholesale operations. Therefore there are going to be excluded from this Bill many of the warehouses which carry on a different type of trade from wholesale and retail business. I will not make the point to the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that by their exclusion you deny the workers the lawful amenities of washing facilities, sanitary arrangements and the like, but I would say to the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, that the Government are denying to those workers in those buildings all the protection of fire regulations and the like. This to me is a very serious matter. I cannot see why, if the Government have gone to the extent that they have in respect of wholesale warehouses, they should deny these facilities, deny these rights—if I may put it in that way—to workers in this branch of business. They are no different, really, from the strictly wholesale warehouses.

I believe that if the Government have the will, if they really believe in a workers' charter—and the Government are certainly trying to create the image that they have a dynamic social past—here is a clear way by which they can show to the country, and certainly to this House, that it is their intention to provide for all the workers of this country, particularly those workers whom they are going deliberately to exclude from the provisions of this Bill, those conditions to which I believe they are entitled. The purpose of the Amendment is quite simple. It does not lay a duty upon the Minister; it merely gives him the per- missive right, if he should so wish, to include within the provisions of the Bill, or some of the provisions, those workers whom the Government have now excluded from it. I hope that the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, will give us a reasonable reply to this Amendment. My Lords, I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 1, line 6, after ("are") insert ("subject to the next following section").—(Lord Shepherd.)


My Lords, may I first of all thank the noble Lord, Lord Shepherd, for the nice things he said about me. It was very generous of him and I greatly appreciate it. He also started off, rather disarmingly, by thanking my noble friends and myself for what we had done on a previous stage of the Bill. Whether he was doing that in genuine thanks, or casting his bread upon the waters, I do not know, but I do not think the outcome of this afternoon's Report stage will be entirely unsatisfactory to him, although I must confess that I do not know that he is going to think my answer on this particular Amendment very satisfactory. Because he will recognise, I am sure, that this is the same Amendment, with one difference, which the noble Lord, Lord Lindgren, moved on the Committee stage, which your Lordships discussed fully and subsequently divided upon, and on which the House decided that they would support the Government.

The noble Lord was very persuasive, as he always is, and argued his case most strongly, but I think it would be only right for me to point out that he did not introduce any novel argument. We have discussed this subject fully, and at the time of the Committee stage I laid the Government's case fully before the House. The Amendment reveals a fundamental difference of opinion between the Opposition and the Government. I think both sides of your Lordships' House and all three major Parties are in favour of this Bill, but noble Lords opposite feel that the Bill which is before your Lordships, and to which the Government are asking you to agree, does not go far enough. The fact remains that the Bill will cover 8 million workers, and that is indeed a very large number of people. We have grouped them in the categories, which form the title of the Bill, and we have done this because we think that these particular groups can be classed under one heading and legislation can be passed for these three groups which makes sense as a whole. If we introduced legislation for other groups of people, it would be necessary greatly to alter the character of the Bill.

The noble Lord has suggested—and I agree with him—that it might be decided at some future date to extend this kind of legislation to groups of workers which are not yet covered. I absolutely accept that in the future it may be necessary to do so; but what he is asking us to do this afternoon is to do so by the Negative Resolution procedure. He is asking us to give the Minister power under this Bill to widen, by that procedure, the scope of the Bill; to increase the number of workers who would come under its provisions. I do not think that this is the right way to do it. I do not think that we ought to do this without a detailed examination in Parliament. Some of these workers are going to be in very different industries, very different sorts of occupations, from those we are legislating for this afternoon. I should have thought that any Government which sought greatly to extend the scope of the Bill which we are discussing this afternoon ought to do it by bringing another Bill before Parliament, so giving to those Members of Parliament who are interested in the subject an opportunity to seek to amend (an opportunity they would not have under Negative Resolution procedure) the statutory obligations which will be placed upon those other workers.

My Lords, the more I study the problem of the workers who are left outside this Bill—and I am not saying, by any means, that there will not come a time when they should be brought into it—the more certain I am that they should be dealt with by a new Bill adapted to the special circumstances of these groups of people, and that this would need a good deal of preparatory examination and discussion. For these reasons, I would ask the noble Lord to accept that the Government feel that 8 million is enough for any Government to legislate for in one Bill, and to accept the decision which your Lordships came to on the Committee stage and not press this Amendment.


My Lords, I must say that I was very interested in the partial quotation that the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, made in the course of his speech about "casting bread upon the waters". The words that conclude the proper quotation from which those words come are: … and thou shalt find it after many days. He also admitted in the course of his speech that the case put by my noble friend Lord Shepherd was, in fact, a sound one in principle. He admitted that the workers covered by the speech made by Lord Shepherd were really entitled to be included, but not now. So we may say: Cast thy bread upon the waters, and we hope you will find it after many years. I think that is a proper interpretation of what the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, put before us this afternoon. I think that, the Conservative Government having been thinking so long about their promise of a workers' charter, and they having a Bill of this sort in which only a part of the provisions of the workers' charter can be included, it should be incumbent upon the Government, in view of their general promise, to include the workers who have been named by my noble friend Lord Shepherd, and so enable them to receive equal justice with those who are included in the Bill. It surely is not sufficient to say that because 8 million workers are included in this Bill all the others should be left out. I hope that he will reconsider it—or does he want us to go to another Division?


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, quite fairly and quite properly, said that there is a fundamental cleavage between the two sides of the House. It is a fact, as he said, that 8 million people are included. For that, we are most grateful, and those workers who are included will be grateful: but there are some 5 million outside. As I pointed out during the Committee stage, when speaking about my own industry, the railway industry, while we are included in this Bill—and we are glad of it—the fact remains that we have effective trade unions, and we have power of negotiation and representation. We are glad of the reinforcement of legislation, but to an extent we are able to look after ourselves through this strength which we have in our industrial organisation. But whole ranges of these 5 million people who are not covered by the Bill are outside the organised groups of workers and have no means whereby they can effectively make representations. Their only hope, if in fact they try to get some improvement, is through the local authority under the Public Health Acts, or under an inspectorate set up for such a Bill as this.

The reason we are anxious that we should have the Negative Resolution procedure included within this Bill is this. Any Government—every type of Government: even a Labour Government when it succeeds this present Government—will make this same excuse: "Our legislative programme is so full we just cannot afford the time to brine, in a new Bill, important and desirable though it is." From our Parliamentary experience we all know that the making of a regulation, subject to the Negative Resolution procedure, is a much more simple way of dealing with the matter, particularly so far as the other House is concerned. There is no difficulty whatever from a Government point of view, when they become satisfied that a certain course is necessary, without interference with the legislative programme, in bringing forward a regulation, subject to the Negative Resolution procedure, to give full effect to it.

It has taken us a very long while to get this Bill. One is always diffident about prophesying, but I shall be extremely surprised if, within the next 15 to 20 years, we get another Offices, Shops and Railway Premises Bill. That means, as the Bill stands, that the whole range of that 5 million workers will be

excluded for 15 to 20 years. We do not think that is good enough. We think it would be much more simple if, in fact, the Negative Resolution procedure were available, so that a Minister, when satisfied after negotiation with the people concerned, could bring forward a regulation to include any of those groups of persons among the 5 million at present excluded from the Bill. We very much regret that the Minister cannot see his way clear to deal with it now.


My Lords, I see little point in proceeding with this debate unless the Government are prepared to change their mind. The Minister said in his reply that he thought it would be wrong to give the Minister power to make regulations subject to the Negative Resolution procedure. That was the burden of the case put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Carrington. It is indeed surprising that that should be the reply, when one looks at the overriding powers the Government are prepared to give to a Minister within a local government area: powers of direction; powers of revocation; overriding powers affecting hundreds of thousands of people. And yet here the Minister rejects this plea on that ground. I think that the Government have made a grave error in this matter. They should have seized the opportunity to use the flexibility that would have been given by acceptance of this Amendment, so that there could be brought in gradually, from time to time, more and more people as and when it was considered necessary to give them protection. In the circumstances, I do not feel prepared to withdraw this Amendment.

On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 21; Not-Contents, 38.

Alexander of Hillsborough, E. Lindgren, L. [Teller.] Shepherd, L.
Attlee, E. Listowel, E. Silkin, L.
Champion, L. Lucan, E. [Teller.] Stonham, L.
Harvey of Tasburgh, L. Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, L. Strang, L.
Hughes, L. Macpherson of Drumochter, L. Summerskill, B.
Latham, L. St. Davids, V. Walston, L.
Lawson, L. Shackleton, L. Williams, L.
Boston, L. Fortescue, E. Lansdowne, M.
Carrington, L. Fraser of Lonsdale, L. Merrivale, L.
Chesham, L. Goschen, V. [Teller.] Milverton, L.
Clwyd, L. Grenfell, L. Molson, L.
Conesford, L. Guest, L. Newall, L.
Cottesloe, L. Haddington, E. Newton, L.
Courtown, E. Hailsham, V. (L. President.) St. Oswald, L.
Craigton, L. Hanworth, V. Saltoun, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Hawke, L. Somers, L.
Derwent, L. Horsbrugh, B. Soulbury, V.
Dundee, E. Howe, E. Spens, L.
Effingham, E. Jellicoe, E. Twining, L.
Ferrers, E. Kilmuir, E.

Resolved in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

Clause 2:

Exception for premises in which only employer's relatives or outworkers work

2.—(1) This Act shall not apply to any premises to which it would, apart from this subsection, apply, if none of the persons employed to work in the premises is other than the husband, wife, parent, grandparent, son, daughter, grandchild, brother or sister of the person by whom they are so employed.

3.17 p.m.

LORD CHAMPION moved, in subsection (1), to omit "This Act shall not apply to any premises" and to substitute: This Minister may by regulation exempt from all or part of this Act any premises

The noble Lord said: My Lords, at the Committee stage we discussed Clause 2 at some length and some Amendments were moved from this side of the House. We then moved a series of Amendments which were designed to lessen the "blanket" nature of this clause as it affects the family group business. Those of us who put down the Amendments from this side of the House found very little satisfaction from the replies of the noble Lord, Lord Newton. He batted very stubbornly, and kept his wicket, but in this connection quite wrongly. In any event we now have the opportunity to bowl at him again to-day and, perhaps, the chance that something will slip past him. I think that that would be good for him, for the Bill and for the Committee.

There is nothing in the noble Lord's remarks at the Committee stage which modifies our view of this clause as being, in the first place, unjustifiable, and, secondly, very stupid. The stupidity of the clause was well exposed by the noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, in a single sentence on an Amendment he moved which sought to ensure that those people who had been under the protection of the Shops Act, 1950, did not have that protection lessened by this Bill. What he said, speaking to that Amendment, was [OFFICIAL REPORT, Vol. 248 (No. 68), col. 904]: …it seems to me quite extraordinary to limit this to this narrow group of family relations, and then suddenly find, because the wife gets ill and she has to send for her sister to work and help out, immediately the full force of the Bill begins to apply. I have re-read everything that was said in Committee, and I still cannot understand how it was decided to exclude the small family business from the provisions of this Bill.

It seemed to me that there was no precedent for such an exclusion in any of the legislation for the safety of work-people in the past. So far as I have been able to trace, I have found no such exclusion anywhere. I certainly never heard of any agitation, in the years between the publication of the Gowers Committee's Report in 1950 and the presentation of this Bill in another House in 1962, for the exclusion of these small family businesses from the Bill. It seems to me that when the Bill was being considered in the Ministry of Labour, somebody must have said that this is a family Government and it would please the Minister if we put into the Bill a provision excluding the small family from its provisions. Someone asked what provisions they would exclude them from, and somebody must have said, "Let us exclude them from the lot." That is how we have the exclusion of these small family businesses from important provisions of this Bill.

We failed to secure the deletion of this clause on Committee stage, but we are still so convinced that it is a bad clause that we are to-day moving this Amendment which seeks to reverse the process which we think took place in the Ministry of Labour and led to the inclusion of this clause, and to remove this blanket exception, but to leave the Minister power to exempt family businesses from the provision of the Bill by regulation. This would cause the Minister and his Department to consider the whole matter in relation to every safety provision of the Bill and eventually to justify his proposed exceptions one by one to Parliament. We have been discussing this matter on the last Amendment, when it was pointed out that the Minister would have to come and justify all his actions under certain regulations, I should really like to hear the Minister having to justify to Parliament as a whole the exception of the family employee from the provisions of Clause 17.

Last Thursday we had a fascinating discussion on the whole question of compensation and the right to sue under Common Law where employees are injured at work. The noble Lord, Lord McNair, made a point on Committee stage, and the same point was made with great force by the noble and learned Lord, Lord Reid, speaking last Thursday, when he said [OFFICIAL REPORT, VOL 248 (No. 73), col. 1337]: There are two methods by which you can bring your case before the court. You can either sue for Common Law negligence, or you can sue for damages in respect of a breach of the Act of Parliament. In the case of Common Law negligence, of course, you have to prove that the employer was at fault. You would normally prove that either by showing that other people did what he failed to do (that would not apply here), or you would prove it by showing that there had been similar accidents in his works, or other works that he knew about, which ought to have put him on his guard, and that he ought to have done something. If you can prove negligence against your employer, you can always have a remedy. The only reason why it is common to use the Factories Act, even in cases where negligence could be proved, is because it is easier, from the point of view of trouble and expense, to bring your case forward in that way.

We can see not the slightest justification for excluding the man who is employed by a member of his family from the provisions of Clause 17 and the protection they would give him by his being able to take his case to court in the event of his being injured. And what applies to Clause 17 applies to a number of other provisions of the Bill. There is no justification for the exception of small family businesses from the provisions dealing with the avoidance of the exposure of young persons to danger in cleaning machinery, the training and supervision of young persons working dangerous machines, the safety and health provisions, the first-aid provisions, and certainly with the fire protection provisions. We say that, if there are to be exceptions—and we make some provision for these in this Amendment—each and every one of them ought to be justified separately to both Houses of Parliament.

The noble Lord, Lord Newton, chided me on Committee stage because I seemed to him to be suggesting that close relatives were not to be trusted in this matter of securing the safety of each other. That is precisely the position I take up in this connection. I do not believe that they are to be so trusted. Employers can be just as careless about the safety of employees who are relatives as they are of those who are not relatives. Familiarity with the conditions operating in an office or shop or a long period without accidents leads to a slackening of care. All these are factors which, if unchecked by the fear of a call from an inspector, can operate as seriously in a family business as in any other business. I have no hesitation at all about again putting forward Amendments designed to cause the Government to have another look at this clause. I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 3, line 33, leave out from beginning to second "to" and insert the said words.—(Lord Champion.)


My Lords, we have debated this subject of the small family business at every previous stage of this Bill, and on every occasion it has fallen mainly to me to express the views of Her Majesty's Government. I am afraid that the views of the Government have become very familiar to your Lordships by now. I might even say that I for my part am becoming familiar with the views of noble Lords on this subject. The noble Lord, Lord Champion, said that he received little satisfaction from me when I replied to his several Amendments in Committee, and tempted me to let a ball through this afternoon. I do not often play cricket nowadays, but when I do I still try not to let balls through, and I shall try to keep them out again this afternoon.

The noble Lord said that despite what had been said on behalf of the Government on Clause 2, and his re-reading of it in the OFFICIAL REPORT, he was not in a position to modify his views on this. I am afraid that I am not in a position to modify my views, either. This is a question upon which there is a clear clash of principle between the two sides of the House. We believe that the close family relationship will be a sufficient safeguard in these matters; the noble Lord does not. I have come to the conclusion that I am not likely to be any more successful in persuading noble Lords opposite to accept our point of view this afternoon than I have been before. So I will not waste your Lordships' time by repeating the arguments which I have used so often before.

3.30 p.m.


My Lords, the noble Lord has really given a reply that is quite contemptuous of the arguments which we have been seriously putting forward on this matter. I believe, with quite strong feeling, that he is not treating the House properly to say that it is not worth putting forward his arguments again. The truth of the matter is that we have not had any satisfactory arguments, but only this vague, ill-considered argument about the importance of these families. It is because we have become familiar with the Government's argument, and because they have failed to produce new ones that have some reality, that we are pressing this. The truth of the matter is, as my noble friend Lord Champion said, that this is something stuck in the Bill; it has not been thought out, and, frankly, it is a piece of nonsense.

There are powers already in this Bill for exempting small business from certain of the more onerous provisions. I do not know which particular provisions in the Bill the noble Lord, or the Government, say should not be applied to family businesses, but I would repeat that it is absurd to say that you should apply the Bill to a small business and not to a family business, which may change its nature overnight. There is this argument—and it may be that the OFFICIAL REPORT is wrong. I did not say the wife may become ill and send for her sister, but for her sister-in-law—and immediately the Act will apply. There is still time for the Government to put down an Amendment on Third Reading. I really do urge them to try to get themselves out of what is quite an absurd situation.

The arguments that my noble friend Lord Champion and other noble Lords have put forward are clear, and I would only like to reinforce one or two of them. There is once again this argument of breach of statutory duty. This is a protection in terms of the insurance that will be taken away from the family business. The noble Lord and the Government may think that they are doing the family business a kindness, but in fact they may well be doing the family harm. Then there is the final point I would make—namely, that I accuse the Government of bad faith in this matter. At no stage until I moved my Amendment on Committee did they admit that they were in fact cancelling the provisions of the relevant sections, Sections 37 to 39, of the Shops Act which previously covered small businesses and are already operative so far as small businesses are concerned, and they would no longer apply.

I do not think the Government have thought this out at all. One of the objects of this process in Parliament—and I say this to the noble Lord, Lord Newton, and that is why I wish he would put his arguments forward—is that we may test the validity of the argument. Our argument is that there is really no justification for this exception. The provisions in the fire certificate would not, under the Bill as already drafted, apply to the small family business, because of the number of people who have to be in the premises. If there are fewer than twenty downstairs or ten upstairs the premises are already exempted. It seems to me that, if the Government would accept this Amendment, they may well have the opportunity to think more carefully about this and see how far there is a real justification for granting this exemption. I really do urge the Government to take these arguments seriously. Noble Lords opposite know as well as we do that this particular clause is complete nonsense.


My Lords, have the Government anything to say on this matter about Clause 17 and the statutory duty to fence the exposed parts of dangerous machinery? Is it not Gilbertian that in the case of a family business only there shall be no statutory duty to fence dangerous parts of machines? What possible advantage or kindness to a family business is achieved by exempting them only from everybody else's duty to fence dangerous machinery?


My Lords, may I also ask the Government whether it is a fact that if this clause stays in the Bill it will be permissible to sell dangerous machinery to a family business but not to sell the same type of machinery to any other business? Is that not a fact in regard to Clause 20?


My Lords, I hope my noble friend Lord Newton is not going to accept any of the suggestions made from noble Lords opposite, because they are absolutely anathema to noble Lords or this side who do not want the whole nation to be inspected, one half inspecting the other. Every speech from the other side of the House on this particular subject (and we have heard a number now) has come out with the theory that everybody should always have an inspector round the corner to watch them.




That is, as I say, absolutely anathema to noble Lords on this side of the House. Her Majesty's Government in this Bill have tried to bring in the areas where there is likely to be the greatest danger to working conditions and the like, and to extend it over the whole gamut of employment would mean either that there has to be a vast army of inspectors or that the inspection would be valueless and nugatory. I support the Government's attitude entirely on this, and I recommend noble Lords opposite to read 1984.


My Lords, I hope that that argument will not be taken seriously. When we pass a law in this House, whether it is after considering inspection or not, it is a crime against the State not to obey it. If you are going to say that you require laws to protect life and limb and the reasonable amenities of people who are in the large way of busi- ness, or a larger way of business than those excluded under the Bill, and they will possibly be accused of committing a crime against the State and prosecuted, it must be wrong that all those others involved in a risk to life and limb and lack of amenities are to be exempted because it is difficult to persuade the Conservative Party that inspection is reasonable.


My Lords, I should not have risen to my feet but for the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Hawke. May I make it quite clear from this side of the House that we accept the fact that the average husband treats his wife well, and that he treats his family well; he is concerned about their health and their welfare. But does not the noble Lord know that we have legislation protecting children? The average parent does not ill-treat his child. Yet, in order to protect the child against the callous parent, we have our Children Acts. So tar as the use of dangerous machinery in a shop is concerned, to which the noble Lord referred, many small family shops are grocers and they have a hand-operated bacon machine. A hand-operated bacon machine is as dangerous a weapon as ever a band saw is in a factory. An ordinary citizen employed in the shop is covered by this Bill.


My Lords, may I ask the noble Lord a question arising out of that? I cannot make a second speech; I can only ask a question. If it is necessary to have an inspection for these little family businesses for these things, why is it not necessary to have the same inspection in every home in this country, of the spin dryer, the washing machine and the hair dryer, all of which are dangerous?


There, again, the noble Lord does not know what he is talking about. By legislation we require certain protective standards of maintenance and fitment.


When does the inspector come round and look at them?


If there is a serious accident.


If there is a serious accident he does. It may not happen so far as the noble Lord is concerned, but quite often the electrical fittings in a house are inspected by the Electricity Board, and the gas fittings are inspected, because they may be dangerous. We pass legislation, not to deal with the best citizens but to protect persons against the worst citizens. As a whole, we are a law-abiding community, and we have passed legislation in order that those who would break the law and ill-treat others can be prevented from so doing. We see no reason why a family business should be excluded. The reasoning is fallacious. If a family business employs one person from outside then the whole force of the Bill applies. I said during the Committee stage that while a shop may be excluded from the provisions of the Bill when it closes on a Saturday night, if on Monday morning the same shop employs one outside person among the rest of the family, then the whole weight of this Bill will apply. If it is necessary for the bacon machine to be guarded because one outsider is employed, why should it not be guarded if a son, daughter or grandchild is employed within the shop?


My Lords, the noble Lord, Lord Hawke, said that the idea of inspections into small family businesses and the like were anathema to his side of the House. I can only say that that side of the House passed the safety health and welfare provisions of the Agriculture Act, which made allowance for this situation. If they were anathema at that time, I can only say that that side of the House allowed them

Resoled in the negative, and Amendment disagreed to accordingly.

to slip through. The point I would make is that when this Bill was introduced, I remember that the noble Lord, Lord Carrington, with some pride, and, I think, justification, said that the Conservative Party had a long history of legislation to protect the factory worker. In that case, surely noble Lords on that side of the House are bound to admit that this question of whether the family group should be included or left out was not anathema to them; because there is no such exception in any of the other safety and welfare provisions of previous Acts, both factory and agriculture.

The noble Lord, Lord Shackleton, said that he thought I had made a mistake, or that Hansard had, in this matter of Clause 2. The fact is, of course, that if the husband is the employer and the wife goes sick and sends for her sister to help out, then the whole of the provisions of this Bill will immediately apply. This is really a nonsensical clause, and it seems to me there is not the slightest justification for its retention in the Bill, and I certainly do not propose to withdraw my Amendment.


Before the noble Lord replies, may I ask whether he would consider including daughters-in-law?


Is there no reply?

On Question, Whether the said Amendment shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 24; Not-Contents, 38.

Airedale, L. Latham, L. Silkin, L.
Alexander of Hillsborough, E. Lindgren, L. [Teller.] Sinha, L.
Attlee, E. Lucan, E. [Teller.] Somers, L.
Champion, L. Macdonald of Gwaenysgor, L. Stonham, L.
Chorley, L. St. Davids, V. Strang, L.
Clwyd, L. Saltoun, L. Summerskill, B.
Harvey of Tasburgh, L. Shackleton, L. Walston, L.
Hughes, L. Shepherd, L. Williams, L.
Ailsa, M. Ferrers, E. Kilmuir, E.
Boston, L. Fortescue, E. Lansdowne, M.
Carrington, L. Fraser of Lonsdale, L. Lothian, M.
Chesham, L. Glentanar, L. Merrivale, L.
Cholmondeley, M. Goschen, V. [Teller.] Milverton, L.
Conesford, L. Grenfell, L. Molson, L.
Cottesloe, L. Haddington, E. Newall, L.
Courtown, E. Hailsham, V. (L. President.) Newton, L.
Craigton, L. Hanworth, V. St. Oswald, L.
Denham, L. [Teller.] Hawke, L. Soulbury, V.
Derwent, L. Horsbrugh, B. Swinton, E.
Dundee, E. Howe, E. Twining, L.
Effingham, E. Jellicoe, E.