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Clause 2

Part of Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 5:00 pm on 5th February 2008.

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Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Shadow Minister (Education) (Schools) 5:00 pm, 5th February 2008

I am grateful to the Minister for that, but I am concerned about why he is so resistant to the amendments, which would simply clarify the flexibility that local authorities need to take into account in dealing with young people who have significant caring responsibilities. It would clarify matters hugely if he were able, by order—it would be helpful, too, if we could see it in draft—to state in the Bill that flexibility will be incorporated in legislation. I accept everything he says about wanting to provide more services and support, and when that is in place, we will support it.

However, the Bill as drafted is restrictive and prescriptive, and my hon. Friend the Member for Upminster and the hon. Member for Yeovil can both envisage circumstances in which people with a huge array of responsibilities on their shoulders will find themselves coming up against the whole of the enforcement procedure: written notices, appeals panels and attendance notices. We could get away from that by simply adopting the amendments, which would give the Secretary of State the power to set out, by order, a set of circumstances in which a more flexible approach could be taken.