Clause 25

Part of Further Education and Training Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 14th June 2007.

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Photo of Nick Ainger Nick Ainger Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Wales Office 2:00 pm, 14th June 2007

I reassure the hon. Gentleman that there was wide consultation. Fforwm, which is the equivalent of the Association of Colleges in England, is aware of the proposals and has welcomed them. As I said, I attended and gave evidence to the relevant Committee in the Assembly. Of course, we will not know the precise detail of what the Assembly will ultimately propose until the independent review has reported in the autumn. If the clause is passed by the House, the Assembly will bring forward an Assembly Measure, which is primary legislation— the equivalent of an Act of Parliament—that goes through exactly the same level of scrutiny as does primary legislation in this place. At that point, it would consult on the detail of the Measure.

I am sure that the hon. Gentleman was making a genuine point, but I can assure him that there will be considerable consultation, and not just through the process of the independent review. Once that review makes its recommendations, and if they are accepted by the Assembly, there will be thorough scrutiny of any Assembly Measure.

The clause delivers the deepening of the Welsh devolution settlement, which is UK Government policy. It ensures that the National Assembly for Wales has the power that it needs, when it needs it, to debate and determine the appropriateness of proposals for the development of further education in Wales that are put forward by the Welsh Assembly Government. It is, therefore, an important clause and I hope that the Committee will give it full support.