Child Employment.

Oral Answers to Questions — Unemployment. – in the House of Commons on 12th May 1932.

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Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

14.

asked the Minister of Labour what action it is proposed to take to give effect to the new Draft Convention on the protection of children prohibiting the employment of children under 14 years of age adopted at the sixteenth session of the International Labour Conference?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

The official text of this Draft Convention has not yet been received from Geneva, and the action to be taken by the Government in regard to it has accordingly not yet been considered.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

Has it been provisionally approved by the Government?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

No, Sir, I cannot say that. Until I have seen the official text of the Draft Convention, of course, I cannot offer an opinion one way or the other.

Photo of Sir Geoffrey Mander Sir Geoffrey Mander , Wolverhampton East

Can the right hon. Gentleman say what was the attitude of the representative of his Department in the discussion?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

The attitude of my representative there was that he abstained from voting because the Draft Convention did not contain certain provisions which we regarded as important.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Are we to understand from the reply that the Government have no policy with regard to the employment of children under 14?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

Oh, no, Sir. The hon. Gentleman must not assume anything of the kind.

Photo of Mr Thomas Williams Mr Thomas Williams , Don Valley

Can the right hon. Gentleman say why the representative of his Department was not given instructions to vote for the Draft Convention?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

Yes. I have already given the reason. It was because the Draft Convention did not contain certain provisions which we regarded as important.

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Surely it is the policy of the Government, long established, not to approve of the employment of children under 14?

Photo of Sir Henry Betterton Sir Henry Betterton , Rushcliffe

As it raises a question of policy, I cannot answer the question without notice, but the decision will be communicated to the House in the usual way by means of a White Paper.