HL Deb 09 July 1985 vol 466 cc164-5

[References are to (Bill 167) as first printed for the Commons]

1 Clause 2, page 2, line 21, leave out ("under the Education Act 1944")

2 Clause 8, page 6, line 11, at end insert— ("(1A) The Education Acts 1944 to 1981, the Education (Fees and Awards) Act 1983, the Education (Grants and Awards) Act 1984 and this Act, except sections 4 and 5 above, may be cited together as the Education Acts 1944 to 1985. (1B) This Act except sections 4 and 5 above, shall be construed as one with the Education Act 1944.")

The Earl of Swinton

My Lords, with the leave of the House, I beg to move that this House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 1 and 2en bloc. As noble Lords will observe—and I am rather sorry that the noble Lord, Lord Stallard, has just left the Chamber after the rather scathing attack that he made on the Government for not accepting any amendments at any stage—the substantive amendment, No. 2 in the list, is very similar to one which was moved by the noble Baroness, Lady David, in this House at Third Reading and which was withdrawn on the understanding that the Government would bring forward their own amendment along similar lines. The effect of the amendment is to cause the Bill to be cited and construed as one with the other Education Acts. Noble Lords will, I am sure, note that we have also taken this opportunity to pick up the Fees and Awards Act 1983 and the Grants and Awards Act 1984. This emphasises that this Bill forms part of the body of educational law.

The other amendment, No. 1 on the list, is purely consequential, removing from Clause 2 a cross-reference to the Education Act 1944 which is rendered unnecessary by the main amendment.

As I explained at Third Reading, the effect of these amendments will be to bring to bear on activities carried out under this Bill the various powers exercisable by the Secretary of State for Education and Science in relation to LEAs' educational functions. These powers are very rarely used in their educational context and it is not our intention that the Secretary of State should intervene in the commercial matters covered by this Bill except as a last resort.

Moved, That this House do agree with the Commons in the said amendments.—(The Earl of Swinton..)

Baroness David

My Lords, we are pleased to agree with the Commons amendments. As the Minister said, I moved a similar amendment at Third Reading and I am very pleased to see that it is now incorporated in the Bill and that the Further Education Bill, when enacted, will be cited and construed as one with the other Education Acts. I think that I wanted this amendment in at Third Reading partly because of another amendment that I was moving which I thought it would help; but in fact that did not come about. The other reason was that I thought that if the Further Education Bill, when it became an Act, had not been cited and construed as one with the other Education Acts, then, in a way, it would rather lessen the standing of further education generally. I think that this gives it the status that it should have. I am sure that the noble Earl will know that I am very anxious that there should be a further Further Education Bill which will do something about the legal basis of further education, and there is still a long way to go. I am pleased with this and grateful that it has been done.

Lord Rochester

My Lords, from these Benches, I should like briefly to associate myself and my noble friends with what the noble Baroness, Lady David, has just said in thanking the noble Earl for being as good as his word in arranging for these amendments to be introduced in another place to meet the points made at Third Reading by the noble Baroness. This is an illustration, I suggest, of the way in which the noble Earl has sought and the rest of us have endeavoured to follow him, to arrive at a broad consensus as this Bill goes forward to become an Act; and that, in my opinion, is a welcome development.

On Question, Motion agreed to.