§ Mr. Pike
To ask the Secretary of State for Employment (1) if he will give the number of cases brought to court in the last 10 years regarding the illegal use of child labour and the number of cases resulting, in conviction on the same basis; and if he will make a statement;
(2) what evidence he has of the incidence of abuse of child labour in the United Kingdom ; whether Her Majesty's Government have any forthcoming proposals regarding this matter; and whether he will make a statement.
The available figures are as follows
(a) Industrial undertakings
Prosecutions by the Health and Safety Executive under section 1 of the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act 1920.
Information laid Convictions 1981 5 15 1982 4 4 1983 3 3 1984 6 6 1985 8 126
Note: Figures prior to 1981 are not readily available.
1 One withdrawn.
2 One dismissed.
Between 1977 and 1986, under legislation which prohibits the employment or involvement of children in certain agricultural operations, 250 informations were laid resulting in 241 convictions. It is thought that a significant number of the informations laid were under the Agriculture (Avoidance of Accidents to Children) Regulations 1958 which apply to all children under the age of 13 years whether they are employed or not.
(c) Non-industrial undertakings
Figures (may be incomplete) notified by the Home Office for prosecutions and convictions under Sections 18, 19 and 20 of the Children and Young Persons Act 1933.
Information laid Convictions 1979 23 18 1980 26 25 1981 24 22 1982 17 16 1983 12 12 1984 12 9 1985 11 9
Note: Figures prior to 1979 are not readily available.
Legislation prohibits the employment of children under 13 and restricts the part-time employment of children between the ages of 13 and 16 and gives substantial powers to those responsible for enforcement of these safeguards. Children in this age group may work only to the extent that their health and welfare and education do not suffer. Under the Children and Young Persons Act 1933 and byelaws approved by the Secretary of State. local education authorities are empowered to enforce restrictions on the hours and occupations in which children may work, and under the Education Act 1944 to prohibit or restrict the employment of any child.239W
The Health and Safety Executive has powers under the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act 1920 to take immediate action if a child is found to be working illegally in any industrial undertaking and has powers to enforce health and safety legislation which prohibits the employment or involvement of children in certain agricultural operations.