§ Mr. Hatton
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) whether he is satisfied with the present level of penalties applicable to employers for the illegal employment of schoolchildren;
(2) when the regulations governing employment of schoolchildren were last reviewed;
(3) whether he will seek new legislative powers to strengthen the laws concerning the employment of schoolchildren.
§ Mr. Moyle
The Employment of Children Act 1973 provides for national regulations to be made to replace the present local byelaws on the employment of children in non-industrial occupations. In view of the limited resources available to local authorities to implement new regulations during the present period of financial restraint, the regulations were at the beginning of this year deferred for at least two years. In the meantime local byelaws continue to operate, and any review of byelaws is a matter for local authorities.
The penalties for contravention of the law on the employment of children in non-industrial occupations are a fine not exceeding £20, or £50 in the case of a second or subsequent offence, and these fines are in line with the present general level of fines for contravention of local byelaws. When regulations are made under the Employment of Children Act 1973 the level of fines will be increased as provided for in the Act.