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Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for the way in which he has responded to these amendments. However, I simply do not accept the explanation. I believe that the law is the law. The ways in which the council will have to behave towards its staff are already set out in endless statutes. Therefore, the idea that it could do something quite outside the law seems to me to be extraordinary. It has to live within budgets. It already has a direction. It comes from the Secretary of State to the council. The idea that there should be a determination under this paragraph for each member of staff does seem to me to be excessive. It is also excessive intrusion in the day-to-day work of the council, which will be employing people and managing employees all the time.

I accept the Minister's explanation in respect of disability, but it is such a pity that we cannot use the opportunity to engage in plain English. It seems to me that the noble Lord's explanation was that a disability could be explained by removing a bar to speaking and/or voting on an issue. I think that is what it actually meant--that it is possible for the Secretary of State to lift that bar and, as set out in paragraph 8, nothing would preclude a member from then taking part and voting on an issue where that has happened.

The Minister's response to my Amendment No. 11 only serves to feed our concerns about the incredible influence that the Department for Education and Employment, and the Secretary of State personally, will have on the way in which the council works. I know from experience that there will be an almost permanent presence on these councils, reforming, informing and observing. "Informing" and "observing" were the two words used by the noble Lord. I believe that, once set up with a proper remit, and with all the other statutes that come into play in terms of how they behave, they should be left to get on

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with it. However, those people, not just inside this Chamber but outside as well, who are very concerned about the superstructure of bureaucracy headed by the Department for Education and Employment will not be helped by the Government's defence of this part of the Bill. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 10:

    Page 57, line 5, leave out sub-paragraphs (6) and (7).

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I beg to move.

4.47 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 10) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 75; Not-Contents, 115.

Division No. 2


Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Biffen, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Brigstocke, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Burnham, L. [Teller]
Buscombe, B.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chalker of Wallasey, B.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Courtown, E.
Cumberlege, B.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Eden of Winton, L.
Fookes, B.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Goschen, V.
Gray of Contin, L.
Hanham, B
Hanningfield, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Holderness, L.
Hooper, B.
Howe, E.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Hurd of Westwell, L.
Hylton-Foster, B.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Jopling, L.
Kimball, L.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Liverpool, E.
Luke, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McConnell, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Monro of Langholm, L.
Montrose, D.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Naseby, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow, E.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Patten, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Rawlings, B.
Rees, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Ryder of Wensum, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Seccombe, B.
Sharples, B.
Skelmersdale, L.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tebbit, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wilcox, B.
Windlesham, L.


Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Bach, L.
Barnett, L.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Bledisloe, V.
Bramall, 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 Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dearing, L.
Desai, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Evans of Watford, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Gale, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Grabiner, L.
Gregson, L.
Hardy of Wath, 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.
Longford, E.
Lovell-Davis, L.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller]
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Mallalieu, B.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Palmer, L.
Patel, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Paul, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rix, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Tenby, V.
Tomlinson, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Warnock, B.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Weatherill, L.
Whitty, L.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

13 Mar 2000 : Column 1313

4.57 p.m.

[Amendment No. 11 not moved.]

Clause 2 [Education and training for persons aged 16 to 19]:

Baroness Sharp of Guildford moved Amendment No. 12:

    Page 1, line 21, after first ("education") insert ("and training").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I rise to move Amendment No. 12 and to speak to Amendments Nos. 16 to 18, 21, 26 to 29, and 31 to 34. The net effect of all these amendments is to eliminate the need for separate subsections in Clauses 2 and 3 referring separately on each occasion to "education" and "training". I spoke to a similar set of amendments in Committee when I stressed the need to get away from the binary divide that separates education from

13 Mar 2000 : Column 1314

training and to take a more holistic view of the two. We were much encouraged on that occasion by what the noble Lord, Lord Bach, had to say in response. He said:

    "We recognise and accept that our present arrangements for post-16 education and training are too fragmented and incoherent ... Members of the Committee quite rightly make the point ... that the proposed new arrangements should not simply perpetuate the artificial distinctions and separate systems of the past".--[Official Report, 8/2/2000; col. 566.]

The noble Lord went on to say that he appreciated that from the way education and training are separated in the two clauses we might get the impression that things were not going to change, but he nevertheless assured us that that would not be the case.

I return to this issue because it is unsatisfactory that the Bill makes so clear a distinction between education and training when this is not the intention. If the whole purpose of the Bill is to provide a coherent framework for post-16 education and training, providing a seamless service across the whole spectrum of needs and not pigeon-holing them into convenient categorisations that have plagued and divided the service for far too long, it is not only logical, but also important that this distinction is eradicated from the face of the Bill.

As it stands, the wording of the Bill perpetuates precisely what the Minister stated the Government wanted to avoid. Our amendments are not far reaching; indeed, I would go as far as saying that they are largely cosmetic or drafting amendments; but their significance goes well beyond their appearance. Combining education and training, as suggested, on the face of the Bill would indicate that the Government intend to live up to their declared aspirations.

For too long we have had this divide in Britain between the academic and the vocational; between the high status education and the low status training. It has led to an undervaluation of the practical and has plagued our approach towards the applied sciences and engineering. It means that we have never really offered a proper career structure for vocational training. We have never, like the Germans, trained people to be a Meister with all the status and symbolism that that implies.

This Bill makes a real attempt to break with the past and to forge a new integrated and coherent approach--and yet here, on the very first page, in the second and third clauses of the Bill, it reverts to the old style of address. We urge the Minister to have the courage of his convictions and to make sure that the Bill's wording reflects the Government's aspirations on these issues. I beg to move.

5 p.m.

Lord Pilkington of Oxenford: My Lords, I do not want to bring too much ideology into this debate. I agree with the noble Baroness. However, we quote Germany so easily. What is conveniently forgotten is that in Germany there are separate channels for vocational and academic education, which has been the nature of the success of German education--and the French, the Dutch and the Austrian. I have said

13 Mar 2000 : Column 1315

this in this House often before: altering words on a Bill will not alter the fundamental structural problem of English education; that is, that the only way we felt we could make vocational training acceptable was to make it parasitic on academic. It has failed; it will fail; and the Germans have it right. I am glad the noble Baroness said that, but she is not prepared to go the whole mile.

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