New Clause 7

Part of Further Education and Training Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:00 am on 14th June 2007.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (14-19 Reform and Apprenticeships) 10:00 am, 14th June 2007

I fear that the relationship between the official Opposition and the Liberals is becoming too close. I am becoming worried that every time the hon.  Lady rises, I agree with her. There is a moving together of the Opposition parties, at least on the subject of further education. However, that might not feature during the course of the Bill, so I will not offer a hostage to fortune. She is right, of course; it is not up to me to list which bodies would go and what form the new regime would take after regulation, as the hon. Member for City of Durham knows.

However, what is absolutely clear is that since Foster, the burden of regulation has not altered significantly. We still have a large number of bodies, and regular reports of duplication and repetition from colleges. We do not have a blueprint for self-regulation of the kind that I want to see. I am disappointed that the Bill does not do more in that regard. That is one of the reasons that I was initially so hostile to the part of the Bill that we have just debated. I accept that the Minister has mitigated, to a considerable degree, that part of the Bill, but it is a bit rich, in a world that gives FE colleges more responsibility, to have a Bill which at least in one important respect gives more power to those who have oversight of them.