HC Deb 27 October 1989 vol 158 cc1322-3

Amendment proposed: No. 44, in page 12, line 31 leave out 'they consider' and insert 'is'.—[Mr. Mellor.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this it will be convenient to take Government amendments Nos. 46 to 48.

Ms. Hilary Armstrong (Durham, North-West)

I intervene now although my comments also apply to later amendments, clause 64 and schedule 8. I wish to deal with the age at which the Government accept responsibility for registration of children's day care schemes. I am pleased that in these amendments the Government have raised the age from five to eight, but I am disappointed that they have stopped at the age of eight. Children over eight are still at a vulnerable age and can be exploited easily. As has been said in a previous debate, some wicked people may have motives that are difficult to detect before the event. Nevertheless, we must be vigilant. We are concerned that by raising the age limit to only eight years the Government are not allowing for the vigilance that we feel is necessary. Our argument applies wherever in the day care arrangements the Government are raising the age of responsibility from five years to eight. We would have wished the limit to be raised to 14 years. This is an issue to which we shall have to return.

Mr. Mellor

I accept that there is a genuine difference between us. The hon. Member for Durham, North-West (Ms. Armstrong) has properly put her argument before the House. I shall not repeat the reasons why the Government have taken the view that they have. Among the many things that we agree about, the issue remains a piece of unfinished business and a difference between us.

It was remiss of me not to have said initially that the amendment reflects an argument advanced by my hon. Friend the Member for Chislehurst (Mr. Sims). I promised to consider it, and as has happened so often during the progress of the Bill, having considered the argument I found that I agreed with it. I hope that my hon. Friend is satisfied.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Mellor

I beg to move amendment No. 45, in page 12, line 35, after 'including', insert 'training'.

Having disappointed the hon. Member for Durham, North-West (Ms. Armstrong) on one point, I can tell her that the amendment before us is the equivalent of one which she moved in Committee. I found her arguments persuasive and the amendment reflects them.

Amendment agreed to.

Amendments made: No. 46, in page 12, line 40, leave out from 'care" to 'form' in line 42 and insert 'means any'.

No. 47, in page 13, line 3, leave out 'they consider' and insert 'is'.

No. 48, in page 13, line 9, leave out from '(7)' to end of line 14 and insert 'In this section'.—[Mr. Mellor.]

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