Clause 2

Part of Further Education and Training Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:30 am on 12th June 2007.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sarah Teather Sarah Teather Shadow Secretary of State for Education 10:30 am, 12th June 2007

With your permission, Mr. Atkinson, I would like to make just a few comments relating to the clause to enable us to speed through our debate.

The Liberal Democrats are largely in support of the idea of moving to a regional structure, but originally we envisaged that process as being coterminous with regional government, which would have given those regional councils some type of democratic accountability. Of course, that gap is still there within the Learning and Skills Council, regardless of how we reorganise it.

With reference to amendment No. 21, I wonder whether part of the point of the amendment is to allow organisations based around cities, which may fall across regions. I wonder whether the Minister will comment on that issue. I can imagine a situation where there are regions, but there may also be a city that draws people for employment purposes from outside that particular region. In that situation, one would need to ensure that the planning of skills training is appropriate for people who live within a separate region. I wonder whether that is part of the point of the amendment.

I also wonder whether the Minister will say something about the representation of college principals or college governors in the new regional council structure. That issue has been raised with me by the Association of Colleges, which is concerned.

Finally, I wonder whether the Minister will explain how the regional structure will work with the national structure for the organisation of higher education.