The Heritage Railways and Tramways (Voluntary Work) Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Faulkner of Worcester (Labour). The bill is due to have its second reading in the House of Lords on 15 July 2022.

1. What would the bill do?

The bill seeks to remove statutory restrictions on young people volunteering to work on heritage railways or tramways. Lord Faulkner of Worcester explains:

Heritage railways and tramways are concerned with the preservation of former rail lines, so commemorating the significant contribution that railways and tramways have made to the industrial heritage and development of this country. These enterprises have provided a stimulus to local employment and tourism, although much of the workforce is purely voluntary. There is a natural tendency for many young persons to seek to participate in these operations, to the benefit of themselves as well as to that of the operators. Unfortunately, those under compulsory school age are barred from so doing, even on a voluntary basis, by the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act 1920, enacted at a time when heritage rail lines were not in contemplation. The bill accordingly proposes to overcome this problem by allowing children and young persons within certain age limits to participate in voluntary work on heritage railways and tramways.

The bill specifically addresses section 1(1) of the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act 1920, which states that “no child shall be employed in any industrial undertaking”. Clause 1 of the bill would require that to be interpreted not to apply to young people volunteering on heritage railways or tramways.

Clause 2 would specify that unpaid work on heritage railways or tramways could be undertaken by:

  • young people aged 12 or over where it is providing direct benefit to the body running the railway or tramway
  • young people aged 10 or over where it is primarily considered beneficial to the young person who is volunteering, and any benefit to the body running the railway or tramway is “incidental”

Finally, clause 3 would apply the bill to the whole of the UK.


Related posts

  • National plan for music education

    The government has published an updated plan for music education. It emphasises aspects such as early years music; cooperation between schools and other organisations, for example music hubs; and providing a variety of ways to progress in music. Commentators have welcomed the plan but called for more funding. Some observers have also argued that the structure of testing in schools from age 14 skews the curriculum against music.

    National plan for music education
  • Health Promotion Bill [HL]: HL Bill 24 of 2022–23

    The Health Promotion Bill [HL] is a private member’s bill introduced by Lord Addington (Liberal Democrat) seeking to amend the name and focus of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. For example, it would require the newly defined office to work collaboratively with other departments on a national plan for sport. This follows recommendations from the National Plan for Sport and Recreation Committee intended to improve levels of physical activity in the country.

    Health Promotion Bill [HL]: HL Bill 24 of 2022–23