Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 3:

("( ) Not less than 40 per cent. of the members shall be persons who have current or recent non-public sector business or commercial experience.").

3.50 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 3) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 68; Not-Contents, 133.

Division No. 1


Alexander of Weedon, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Biffen, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller]
Buscombe, B.
Butterworth, L.
Caithness, E.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Cranborne, V.
Cuckney, L.
Cumberlege, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Fookes, B.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hanham, B
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of High Cross, L.
Haslam, L.
Hayhoe, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Hooper, B.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kimball, L.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McConnell, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peyton of Yeovil, L.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Rawlings, B.
Rees, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Seccombe, B.
Sharples, B.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Tebbit, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wilcox, B.
Windlesham, L.
Young, B.


Addington, L.
Allen of Abbeydale, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Avebury, L.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Bradshaw, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Christopher, L.
Clarke of Hampstead, L.
Cledwyn of Penrhos, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
Crawley, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Ezra, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Gale, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Gregson, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Greenwich, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howells of St Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B. (Lord Privy Seal)
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lipsey, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Maddock, B.
Mallalieu, B.
Marsh, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Methuen, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Newby, L.
Nicol, B.
Northbourne, L.
Orme, L.
Palmer, L.
Patel, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St Budeaux, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rix, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogan, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Sandberg, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Stallard, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strange, B.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tomlinson, L.
Tope, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Warnock, B.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Winston, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

13 Mar 2000 : Column 1299

4 p.m.

[Amendments Nos. 4 to 6 not moved.]

Lord Tope moved Amendment No. 7:

    Page 1, line 15, at end insert--

("( ) In appointing a member the Secretary of State must have regard to the need to reflect the diversity of the population as a whole and to include those with an understanding of or an interest in achieving social inclusion and equality of opportunity in relation to race, sex, disability, age, sexual orientation or religion.").

The noble Lord said: My Lords, in moving this amendment, I shall speak also to Amendment No. 56, which seeks to amend Amendment No. 55, on which it would be appropriate for me to comment. I shall speak also to Amendment No. 66 and Amendment No. 101, which seeks to amend Amendment No. 100, on which I shall comment, and to Amendment No. 116. I shall not speak to Amendment No. 63, which I see now that I have had wrongly grouped with this amendment. That is a different issue. I shall deal with Amendment No. 63 when we reach it in the normal course of business. I apologise to your Lordships if that causes any confusion.

This group of amendments deals with the whole issue of equality of opportunities. I find it a rather surprising omission from the Bill as published. Indeed, it is a surprising omission after we have been through the Committee stage, for which I take my share of responsibility.

I welcome government Amendments Nos. 55 and 100. They are a little late, but better late than never. They are also rather limited, as I shall comment later. But it is a welcome recognition that the issue of equality of opportunity goes wider than the issue of disability, important though that is.

Amendment No. 7 deals with membership of the learning and skills council. It requires the Secretary of State to,

    "have regard to the need to reflect the diversity of the population as a whole and to include those with an understanding of or an interest in achieving social inclusion and equality of opportunity",

in determining the overall membership of the council.

We have said consistently from these Benches that we feel that it is wrong to be prescriptive about the proportions which should make up the membership. But if the Government are serious--and I believe they are--about tackling social inclusion and promoting equality of opportunity, it is important that the learning and skills council is seen to be representative of the whole population and the whole community;

13 Mar 2000 : Column 1300

that it cannot be seen or perceived as, at worst, a white male business-dominated body. The membership should reflect all parts of our community and there should be confidence in it.

Amendment No. 56 relates to the welcome amendment from the Government. The government amendment, to which I imagine the Minister will speak in a moment, deals with important areas of race, gender and disability but ignores or omits any reference to the other categories of discrimination as now defined within the European Union--those of sexual orientation, age and religion.

I recognise that to talk about sexual orientation in relation to this Bill or any other is perhaps a sensitive issue but, whatever differing views we take, none of us has been in favour of discrimination on those grounds. Not to deal with discrimination on grounds of age in a Bill which deals with lifelong learning seems to be particularly wrong, as is the case in relation to religion. I can only assume that as those categories are now well recognised and always included together, as they are in the Greater London Authority Act, it was an accidental omission. I hope that the Minister will confirm that it was not the Government's intention to omit them and that either this amendment will be accepted or they will bring forward their own amendment to recognise that omission.

Amendment No. 66 simply applies the provisions of Amendments Nos. 55 and 56 to local councils, which is not the case at present either in the Bill or in the amendments tabled by the Government. Again, I cannot believe that the Government intentionally meant to apply the provisions of the Bill only to the national council and not equally to the local councils. The Government may well say that by applying it to the national council it is implicit that it applies to the local councils. But I believe that it should be explicit.

We are told that local councils will be business dominated. While I know that there are many business people who have the social inclusion agenda uppermost in their minds and are strongly committed to equality of opportunity, that is not always immediately associated with local business-dominated bodies. It is desirable that we should have on the face of the Bill the same requirement for local councils as we shall have for the national council.

Amendments Nos. 100 and 101 simply repeat that for the Welsh council and I need not repeat myself on that.

Amendment No. 116 relates to Clause 52 which requires the adult learning inspectorate to keep the Secretary of State informed about a number of matters listed in the Bill. This amendment adds to those the requirement to keep the Secretary of State informed of whether provision of education and training within its remit accords with the principle of equal opportunities. In other words, it puts a duty on the adult learning inspectorate also to report on that aspect.

I welcome the Government's tentative step in the direction of equality of opportunity within this Bill. But I believe that this group of amendments, as a

13 Mar 2000 : Column 1301

whole, represents a rather more significant stride towards ensuring that equality of opportunity is available to all members of our community and that achievement of that aim will be a principal objective of the learning and skills council and the adult learning inspectorate at national and local level. I beg to move.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page