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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. Gentleman makes two good points. First, he alerts us to the risks of creating incentives we would not want to create, although I think it is unlikely, however draconian the legislation, that people will have children to get around it. They will probably be confident of being able to get around it in many other ways—some local authority representatives told us that by the time they had taken young people through all the hoops, they would probably not be under the age of 18 any longer.

The hon. Gentleman also makes a very sensible point when he comes back to the fourth option that I was talking about the other day of not simply insisting that we will provide people with education and training, but looking at other types of support that ought to be made available to them. My point is that education, training and employment will not always be the right approach for young people who have ended up as parents at a very early age. I hope that we will hear from the Minister about the types of flexibility that he will introduce into the guidance under the Bill. I can see that he is desperate, post-lunch, to get back into the debate, so I will conclude my comments.