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Fun Fairs (Juveniles)

Volume 387: debated on Thursday 18 March 1943

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether his attention has been drawn to the large number of juveniles who frequent the fun fair in Newport; and whether, in view of the many cases of juvenile delinquency which come before the courts, and the unfortunate influence which places of this kind have on the youth of the town, he is prepared to take steps to prevent the admission of young people to fun fairs of this kind?

I fully recognise that if young people have nothing better to do with their spare time than to idle about the streets or to go to a fun fair, there is a risk of their getting into trouble, but I am not satisfied that the remedy lies in prohibiting their admission to fun fairs. Last year I made some general inquiries about fun fairs, and after considering the representations which had been made to me, in conjunction with the reports from the police, I came to the conclusion—and so informed the House—that there were not sufficient grounds to justify me in proposing at the present time new statutory provisions with regard to these places.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that protracted correspondence with the local authorities has taken place and so far there has been no co-operation by the Home Office in the matter?

Will the right hon. Gentleman himself visit one of these juvenile courts and see what has happened? The Chief Constable of Plymouth, the head of the Watch Committee and everyone interested in the social welfare of children is against these fun fairs. I beg of him to remember his past.

We have been careful to get all the information we can about this, and really the wild and extreme allegations as to the effect of these fun fairs do not stand up. Unless there is a good case for interfering with people's enjoyments, I am not going to interfere with them.

Will the right hon. Gentleman continue to advise young boys and girls to join clubs to keep them out of trouble?

Yes, and that has been actively done by the President of the Board of Education.