HC Deb 21 June 1988 vol 135 cc531-2W
65. Mr. McAllion

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Services what information he has on the illegal employment of school-age children.

Mrs. Currie

No information is available on children who may be employed illegally.

The Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act 1920, which applies to Great Britain, prohibits the employment of children in industrial undertakings. The Health and Safety Executive has powers under this Act to take immediate action if a child is found to be working illegally in any such employment; and through its agricultural inspectorate to enforce legislation which prohibits the employment or involvement of children in certain agricultural operations.

The Children and Young Persons Act 1933, which applies to England and Wales, prohibits the employment of children under 13 and restricts the part-time employment of children between the ages of 13 and 16. Local authority byelaws made under this Act place further restrictions on the hours and occupations of schoolchildren's employment. Local authorities have powers, which are usually exercised through the educational welfare service, to enforce the byelaws and, under section 59 of the Education Act 1944, which also applies to England and Wales, to prohibit or restrict the employment of any child.