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The Lord Bishop of Worcester: My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his Answer. Is he aware that a recent report by the family studies support group indicated that today our society is so complex and our culture so fragmented that one cannot assume that just because children and young people have parents they can be parents themselves? Furthermore, I have no doubt that he will be aware of the Childrens' Society report Running the Risk, which indicated that many young people run away from home and put themselves at risk because of family breakdown. Can he reassure us on that?
Lord Lucas: My Lords, I am sure that the whole House will want to pay tribute to the Church of England Children's Society which over many years has done a great deal to help children in distress, and which over that time has accumulated a great fund of expertise to which the Government pay much attention. Indeed, the Government welcomed the report Running the Risk in an extensive speech by my honourable friend Mr. Bowis, a copy of which is in the Library for anyone who wishes to see its details. So far as concerns education for parenthood, we feel that it is important to give to children while they are at school a basic understanding of how to take responsibility, how to form relationships, and some feeling of the reality of what it is to be a parent. In terms of the intensive availability of information on what a parent needs to do, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Health has announced recently a new initiative to increase the availability of that information through as many channels as may be appropriate.
Lord Merlyn-Rees: My Lords, has the noble Lord noticed--as I have because of my background of 30 years representing a northern inner city --that there are many parents with a low income and without a good formal education who are excellent parents and who love and look after their children? Equally there are those who have been to good schools and had a good education, and who have plenty of money, whose
Lord Northbourne: My Lords, I was pleased to hear the noble Lord refer to relationship education and an understanding of children's needs as being an appropriate subject for school teaching. Does he agree that one of the reasons why that discipline has taken a back seat in many schools is that teachers are nervous and unsure about teaching it? Are the Government prepared to consider making a small amount of additional funding available for a once-and-for-all pump priming of teacher training to give teachers support in teaching the subject?
Lord Lucas: My Lords, these are important subjects. I am sure that the new Teacher Training Agency, when deciding how teacher training should progress in the future, will take into account the views that the noble Lord has expressed.
Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I accept that it may not be appropriate for education for parenthood to be part of the national curriculum, and I welcome the Government's initiative on the part of the Secretary of State for Health. However, does the Minister accept that it might be desirable for the Government to issue guidelines to schools on education for parenthood, including not only advice on the education of older pupils but guidelines on how teachers might work with young parents of children in schools on what constitutes good parenting?
Lord Lucas: My Lords, the Government must be extremely careful in putting forward one or any particular model of what it is to be a good parent. In this area, voluntary groups, and in particular the Churches, have a role to play. There are many views on what constitutes a good parent and I do not believe that the Government should try to set forward one standard model.
Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I am sorry for rising again. Will the Minister accept that I was not asking for guidelines on what constitutes good parenting? I was asking for guidance to be issued to schools on how they might institute work with parents and older pupils on the importance of good parenting and of parenthood in our society.
Lord Lucas: My Lords, that is something which good schools do already. We hope that the practice will spread, not least because it is one of the primary areas that Ofsted will look at during the course of its inspections.
Baroness David: My Lords, is the Minister aware that a great deal of good work is being carried out in some adult education colleges; for instance, the City Lit in London? Parents are brought into schools to work with the children, which is a good opportunity to
The Earl of Arran: My Lords, we have repeatedly and vigorously protested to the Spanish authorities about the harassment at the frontier and the disruption to normal movement across the border. We are keeping the position under close review and will continue to protest if the situation does not improve.
Lord Merrivale: My Lords, I thank the Minister for that encouraging Answer. Does he agree that the hours of queueing at the frontier--according to yesterday's Daily Telegraph it is up to four hours for pedestrians and up to eight hours for motorists--indicate that Spain is seeking to impose a form of economic strangulation on Gibraltar? Does he further agree that with double checks, normal Customs, and Guardia Civil controls, the controls go totally against the Community spirit whereby member states should conduct effective controls in line with common criteria?
The Earl of Arran: My Lords, my noble friend is right. However, Gibraltar is outside the common Customs tariff and Spain is therefore technically within its rights in carrying out the checks at the frontier. As my noble friend said, the current checks are completely intolerable. They are extraordinarily heavy-handed and burdensome. They are intrusive and a profound disgrace. It is important that checks of this nature should cease forthwith.
Lord Ennals: My Lords, I accept that an agreement should be by Spain and the United Kingdom and that representations have been made by the United Kingdom. What response have the Government received from the Spanish Government and where do the talks now stand?
The Earl of Arran: My Lords, we have been in touch with the Spanish Government at high levels. The Spanish Foreign Minister is visiting my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary on Tuesday next week. Obviously, the current situation will be high on their agenda.
Lord Boyd-Carpenter: My Lords, will my noble friend make clear to the Spanish Foreign Minister that far from these niggling, tiresome attempts at the persecution of Gibraltar making it more likely that Spain will be able to acquire Gibraltar the reverse is the case and that this country will firmly support the people of Gibraltar in resisting such outrageous behaviour?
Lord Bruce of Donington: My Lords, I note with pleasure that Her Majesty's Government occasionally enter a protest against actions they do not like. However, will the Minister consider more than protests and saying "No" to some of the demands that Spain makes until, as regards this matter, Spain can behave in a more communautaire manner?
The Earl of Arran: My Lords, by the tone of the noble Lord's voice I take it that he may be suggesting confrontation. I do not believe that in the present circumstances that will get the British Government very far. As irritating and frustrating as the circumstances may be, I believe that co-operation is the best way forward.
Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, when exercising the gentle art of persuasion, to which my noble friend referred, will he bear in mind that Spain receives £12 million per day until the end of the century from the structural fund?
Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I echo and agree with what the Minister said. It is far more appropriate to try to co-operate on these matters. I regret the tone of some of the questions that have been asked. I agree that harassment at the frontier by the Guardia Civil is entirely unacceptable. However, will the Minister comment on press reports of worrying developments in Gibraltar? We read of money laundering and extensive drug and tobacco smuggling into Spain. Will the Minister also comment on reports that failure by the Gibraltarian Government to adhere to EU directives has led to the threat of direct rule by the British Government?
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