§ Mr. BOWERMAN
asked the Secretary of State for War if he can state the proportion of boys to men employed in Wool- 1606W with Arsenal, and the percentage of boys whose employment has been continued on reaching manhood at adult wages during the last three years; and whether he can state what measures are taken to ensure that the largest possible number of boys shall be, retained on reaching the age at which boys are generally discharged?
§ Mr. HALDANE
The proportion of boys to men in the ordnance factories at Woolwich for the week ending 16th instant was approximately one-tenth. The percentage of boys whose employment has been continued on reaching manhood at adult wages, excluding the torpedo factory, an Admiralty Department, to which the rule as to discharge at the age of twenty-one has not been applied, is 26.66. The number of boys taken on as men must depend on the supply of work. Men already working at the Arsenal cannot be displaced in their favour. But, in order to diminish the danger of turning off at twenty-one lads who are unfitted to obtain work elsewhere, the Department has under consideration new rules for terminating boys' engagements at an earlier age than twenty-one unless means can be found of employing them on some work or trade which would be of use to them on leaving Government service.