Here’s a subject I have never covered before. How much do you pay your news boys and girls? In the past I can remember writing about the very precise council rules on how many hours they can work and how much weight they can carry, but never about how much you should pay them.

And, even more unusually, this query, on email, came from a member of the public called Sarah Lewis. I assume she is not ‘trade’ as she says that her daughter delivers papers for a local shop (and if she were ‘trade’, her daughter would probably be shelf-filling instead). A crucial part of the query was that her wages were always different.

She gave me her daughter’s schedule: Monday to Friday, 18 evening papers; Saturday, 13 evening papers; Sunday morning, seven papers. She asked if I could work out what her daughter should be getting per week as it changes from week to week. As if. I did ask her for her daughter’s age, but this was not forthcoming before my deadline. I also asked the NFRN if it had any intelligence on the subject and got a helpful reply from Anne Bingham, its press officer. Anne forwarded it to the Federation’s new business development manager Phil Williams.

He says: “There is no mention of the girl’s age and so she could be liable to be paid minimum rate. The best advice would be to talk to the newsagent and find out what they are paying. They may be paying by the copy, which may vary and account for the difference. There is, as you have pointed out Anne, no requirement for any minimum rate for children under 16, but the individual store should pay a constant amount for the same work. Due to weight, newsagents may pay extra for weekend delivery, although this is not a requirement.

“If of school age I would recommend the legal guardian asks for clarification on the pay rates.”

Do any of you have an opinion on this? Do you pay your older ones a bit more? Or the reliable ones? Or do they all get the same?