Clause 99

Part of – in a Public Bill Committee at 11:45 am on 24th March 2009.

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Photo of John Hayes John Hayes Shadow Minister (Education) 11:45 am, 24th March 2009

An extraordinary picture is emerging. The Minister says that it is impossible to desire accountability and at the same time criticise the closeness of the body to Ministers, as if accountability to Ministers is the only kind that counts. The 157 Group talks about public accountability—transparency, in its terms. It is an extraordinary argument that one cannot say that the body is too centrally directed and at the same time say that it is unaccountable. We worry not whether the body is accountable to the Minister and his hon. Friends in the Ministry, but whether it is accountable to those who will be affected by its decisions and the powers vested in it. We know what happened with the LSC and further education colleges. They are in crisis because Ministers and the people who run the LSC have made a complete mess of the capital funding system. So, it was not terribly reassuring when the Minister said that this body will be tightly controlled and answerable to Ministers.