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Clause 2

Part of Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:30 pm on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of David Laws David Laws Shadow Secretary of State (Children, Schools and Families) 4:30 pm, 5th February 2008

The hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton has clearly set out the purpose of these two useful probing amendments—I think that is what they are intended to be—so I need not repeat everything that he said. However, the amendments are important because they deal with two groups of people who might be considered either vulnerable or at risk from a sledgehammer approach of compulsion and criminalisation, however refined that sledgehammer is, as the Minister has sought to argue.

We are talking about two very different groups in terms of their characteristics and the ways in which they might need to be accommodated. I think that the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton indicated that, although there are a large number of carers in the UK who are under the age of 18 and fall into the group covered by the Bill, it is sensible to make sure that the Bill provides them with all the opportunities that we would want them to have and that we do not simply assume that because they have caring responsibilities, they can have an exemption and therefore be forgotten about.