Clause 2

Part of Further Education and Training Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:30 am on 12th June 2007.

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Photo of Bill Rammell Bill Rammell Minister of State (Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education), Department for Education and Skills 11:30 am, 12th June 2007

The hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings set out his enthusiastic support for sector skills councils, which I welcome, as they are at the heart of the Government’s agenda in responding to the skills challenge.

The hon. Gentleman also said that according to the Leitch report, to which we will respond shortly, the sector skills councils will take on a more substantive role. He also alluded to the fact that Sandy Leitch recommends that we move even further in a demand-led direction. I agree with both those propositions and nothing in the Bill contradicts that approach. If hon. Members could identify what in the Bill stops us moving in the direction of the Leitch report’s recommendations, I would better understand their concerns. Ministers throughout the Department, especially my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary, regularly meet the sector skills councils.