HL Deb 10 November 2004 vol 666 cc995-6

61 Clause 45, page 31, line 29, after "wishes", insert "and feelings"

62 Page 31, line 32, after "wishes", insert "and feelings"

63 Page 31, line 33, at end insert—

"(2) In section 20 of that Act (provision of accommodation for children: general), in subsection (6)(a) and (b), after "wishes" insert "and feelings".

(3) In section 47 of that Act (local authority's duty to investigate), after subsection (5) insert—

"(5A) For the purposes of making a determination under this section as to the action to be taken with respect to a child, a local authority shall, so far as is reasonably practicable and consistent with the child's welfare—

  1. (a) ascertain the child's wishes and feelings regarding the action to be taken with respect to him; and
  2. (b) give due consideration (having regard to his age and understanding) to such wishes and feelings of the child as they have been able to ascertain.""

Lord Filkin

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 61 to 63. Not learning from experience, I shall try my hand yet again and really speak succinctly on the amendments.

These amendments respond to the debates in this House regarding the importance of ensuring that children's feelings, as well as their wishes, are taken into account. It is a classic example of this House making a sound point. Regarding the commitment made by my noble friend Lady Ashton, the Government have proposed amendments to Sections 17, 20 and 47 of the Act. I am pleased that we have been able to find a way to do this. I hope that the House will agree with the amendments.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 61 to 63.—(Lord Filkin.)

Baroness Walmsley

My Lords, I feel that the Government have responded to this House and I wish to thank them.

Earl Howe

My Lords, it would not be right for me to allow this occasion to pass without some warm words of welcome to the Minister for these amendments. They respond admirably to the concerns that we debated earlier and I, among many others, am very grateful.

On Question, Motion agreed to.