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Child Labour: Unicef Allegations

Volume 576: debated on Saturday 17 February 1996

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they accept the findings of the United Nations Children's Fund report, summarised in

The Times of 12th December 1996, alleging that there are instances of child labour in Great Britain, including children working for only 10p per hour, in some cases in dangerous locations such as saw mills and building sites, and seven out of 10 British children working for money outside the family by the age of 16; if so, whether they will take steps to combat these practices; and, if not, whether they will state what they consider to be the accurate position.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health
(Baroness Cumberlege)

The extreme examples of child labour quoted in The Times do not reflect the accurate position, which is that the vast majority of children who choose to work do so within the parameters of the comprehensive and long standing legal regime which exists to protect them. Local authorities and the Health and Safety Executive have powers to take action against anyone found employing a child in unlawful circumstances.