Learning and Skills Bill [Lords] — 30 Mar 2000

Mr Stuart Bell MP, Middlesbrough voted with the majority (No).

[Relevant documents: The Eighth Report from the Education and Employment Committee, Session 1998-99, on Access for All? A Survey of Post-16 Participation, HC 57-I, and the Government's response thereto, Session 1999-2000, HC213.]

Order for Second Reading read.

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read a Second time.

I wish to thank the staff in my Department for the enormous work that has already taken place in preparation for the conclusion of the debate and the urgent work that will need to be done in putting in train substantial structural changes, including funding, recruitment and the delivery of services. I wish also to put on record my thanks to the Further Education Funding Council for the work that it has done over many years and the co-operation that it is showing with the proposed changes.

I put on record also my considerable thanks to the 72 remaining training and enterprise councils, to the volunteers who have manned those councils--the chairs, board members and staff--who have done sterling work in many parts of the country. I thank Nick Reilly and the small group that he is leading for promoting the new skills agenda with employers throughout the country. We are grateful to them all for the work that they have done.

One of the greatest challenges facing the country is whether we can modernise and reform the learning and skills that we offer to young and old alike, and whether we can match the challenge of the new knowledge economy with a learning and skills market world wide while coping with the legacy of neglect, which we are dealing with in the Bill.

In a rapidly changing world, our people need the skills to be able to adapt and to cope with changes, as well as to take on board the flexibility and adaptability in the new labour market. To do that, we need to ensure that the majority, not the minority, have higher level skills, access to continuing updating of training, and the most modern and effective support for their training needs. We must make sure that that takes place in co-operation with employers, trade unions and individual learners.

In the past, a minority of people obtained the learning and skills that they required. For the majority of people, getting a job at 16 was the order of the day. It was argued that only a few--an elite--needed higher level skills to succeed, and that their talent would eventually allow wealth to trickle down to the rest.

Those days have long gone. It is time to put in place the structures and support systems to ensure that, in the 21st century, we as a nation, our companies and our people can compete in the global economy, and to allow us to achieve sustainable growth with low inflation and low unemployment, in order to attain the goal of high and sustainable levels of employment and employability that was sought after the second world war.

30 Mar 2000 : Column 514

The general objectives are that the pupils--

(a) learn about the nature of marriage as the key building block of society?

He believes that, but other members of the Cabinet do not. Does he intend to invite the House to remove the requirement that was inserted in the other place that any guidance that is issued should be subject to the approval of both Houses of Parliament?

I beg to move, To leave out from 'That' to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

'this House declines to give a Second Reading to the Learning and Skills Bill [Lords] because it increases bureaucracy and central control in the provision of education to young people over 16 and adults, diminishes the role of democratically elected local education authorities, poses a threat to school sixth forms and the independence of further education colleges, destroys the TEC network and weakens business involvement in education and training, creates an anomalous and incoherent inspection system, and would curtail funding for informal education for all young people through the statutory and voluntary youth service; and because it lacks strategic vision and continuity in the progression of young people from the years of compulsory schooling through the transition to further and higher education and thereby to working life and lifelong learning.'

Clause 20 provides that the local LSC's duties and powers will be those of the national LSC which it chooses to delegate.

Employers rely on their local area, and to a lesser extent their region, from which to recruit their workforce, especially for those with skills below professional level. Small and medium enterprises are even more likely to recruit from local labour markets, for all levels of staff. Local labour markets are not only critical but also tend to differ from one locality to another. It is this fact which underpins the CBI's view that the new LSC must operate through a network of local LSCs with strong decision making and financial autonomy. The local LSCs have the key responsibility to adapt national plans . . . and therefore must have enough flexibility to be responsive to local markets.

FutureFocus, a Virtual Centre of Excellence, was set up by a partnership led by Thames Valley Enterprise to provide IT training to SMEs.

Thames Valley Enterprise made discretionary funding available to Newbury College of Further Education to offer training to address the regional skills shortage in the microchip industry. INPAQ, a division of Newbury College, is supported by major industry partners and offers short courses and one-day seminars in microchip design to both extend skills and help people enter the industry.

They are there because young people need somebody to take responsibility for them.

What about their parents? The Government are telling young people, "If you need advice, don't ask your parents, ask your Government-appointed mentor." Yet another way in which the Government are usurping the role of parents-- [Interruption.] A number of hon. Members are complaining about that interpretation. They should listen to the words of the Under-Secretary, who makes it absolutely clear that the mentor provided under ConneXions for 13 to 19-year-olds is there to take responsibility for them and to take over some of the advice available to them from their parents.

We recognise that there will be a need for cross London co-operation when planning and allocating provision. We expect that LSCs will work together in London with a light touch co-ordinating mechanism. The exact form that this pan London co-ordinating body will take has not been agreed. However, it will mean that the five local LSCs will be able to agree common approaches to collective problems including developing strategies for sectoral cross regional provision.

delighted with the letter from Malcolm as it illustrates a real understanding of the potential inefficiency of small specialist providers, such as Capel Manor College, dealing with individual LSCs. They would welcome the opportunity to report directly to a London-wide body, co-ordinating the servicing of specialist needs across London.

The Government hope to place "ownership" of the training and enterprise system where it belongs--with employers.

The worst thing a Labour Government could do would be to scrap everything that has been achieved and start again.

Labour will retain Training and Enterprise Councils but will make them more broadly representative of their local communities.

The proposed system does not allow sufficient capacity to offer an effective match between the skills demanded and the supply of skills. The flexibility to deal with local skills is totally inadequate. Local learning and skills councils must have sufficient authority and discretion to step outside the room and override dictates from the centre. They must have the power to substantially redress the balance if necessary to meet local needs.

principally concerned with the provision of full-time education suitable to the requirements of pupils who are over compulsory school age but under the age of 19.

must perform in relation to its area such of the Council's duties--

as the Council specifies.

may exercise in relation to its area such of the Council's powers as the Council specifies.

There will be an increase in the number of staff employed in the public services because some of the activities of the LSC and the ALI were formerly conducted by private companies.

The Government issued contractual notices to TECs in England in July 1999 informing them that their licences will expire on 25 March 2001. As a result, no organisation will be able to trade as a TEC.

difficult to gain an overall impression of the scale of TEC funding and activity because they are so fragmented.

learn about the nature of marriage as the key building block of society and its importance for family life and for the bringing up of children.

learn about the significance of stability in family relationships.

are protected from teaching and materials which a reasonable person would regard as inappropriate.

a 16 year old disabled heterosexual Woman,

a 16 year old Asian Lesbian,

a bisexual fourteen year old Young Woman,

a female sex industry worker--

a male to female transgendered person,

a married Man who has sex with other men in secret,

a 62 year old Lesbian Woman,

a transvestite cabaret artist,

a Chinese bisexual 15 year old Young Man,

a married Woman who has sex with other women in secret,

a Black Disabled Lesbian who is also a wheelchair user,

an Out Lesbian mother,

a 16 year old White Gay Man,

a Middle aged Gay Man,

a White Lesbian Teacher.

a marked democratic deficit running through the Bill.

Our major single concern is that . . . it--

may further increase bureaucratic pressures on those actually teaching and swallow up some of their funding.

The LSC will focus on customer need, collaboration rather than competition, and on cutting out bureaucracy.--[ Official Report, House of Lords , 17 January 2000; Vol. 608, c. 878.]

we want the learning and skills council to ensure that high-quality learning opportunities are available to meet the needs of all learners across the range of abilities and aptitudes.

of a quality and quantity which the Learning and Skills Council can reasonably be expected to provide taking account of the resources available to it.

a minimum of 40 per cent. of the membership of both the national and local councils will be those with recent experience in business and commerce,

and he said immediately afterwards

that the chairman of the national council and the majority of local council members will similarly have had recent business and commercial experience.--[ Official Report , 28 October 1999; Vol. 336, c. 1079.]

We believe that high quality franchising can play a valuable role in the FE system, because of the way it can increase participation, extend access and contribute towards a more skilled workforce.

unacceptable aspects of franchising which grew up under the previous administration.

The Conservative Party will shortly be launching a campaign to support the retention of school sixth forms.

Questionnaire for Headteachers whose school have a sixth form.

Question put, That the amendment be made:--

The House divided: Ayes 119, Noes 280.

Historical Hansard | Online Hansard |

Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 118 (+2 tell)075.0%
DUP0 1050.0%
Ind1 0033.3%
Lab267 (+2 tell) 0064.7%
LDem12 0026.1%
Total:280 119064.3%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

NameConstituencyPartyVote
no rebellions

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