All 1 Christopher Chope contributions to the Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021

Fri 12th Mar 2021
Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Bill
Commons Chamber

3rd reading & Report stage & Report stage & 3rd reading

Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Bill Debate

Full Debate: Read Full Debate
Department: Department for Education

Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Bill

Christopher Chope Excerpts
3rd reading & Report stage
Friday 12th March 2021

(10 months, 2 weeks ago)

Commons Chamber
Read Full debate Education and Training (Welfare of Children) Act 2021 - Private Members' Bill (Ballot Bill) Page Read Hansard Text
Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope (Christchurch) (Con)
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I beg to move amendment 1, page 3, line 3, leave out from “force” to end of subsection and insert “on 1 October 2021”.

This amendment will incorporate into the Bill the guidance for policy makers issued in August 2010 that there should be two common commencement dates each year, one of which is 1st October, for the introduction of changes to regulations affecting businesses.

Amendment 1 is a short amendment, supported by my hon. Friends the Members for Wellingborough (Mr Bone) and for Shipley (Philip Davies), but it has a deeper purpose, which is set out in the explanatory statement. It means that the regulations under the Bill would come into effect on 1 October 2021.

In thinking about all this, it occurred to me that over the years we have lost sight of an important deregulatory policy of the Government, introduced, I think, in 2010: that, to reduce the burdens on business, regulations passed by this House should only be implemented on two implementation dates each year. One was, I think, 1 April and the other was 1 October. The idea behind that was that people in business should not have to keep an eye on when another regulation was going to be implemented or when those regulations that had been passed would be commenced. I thought it would be useful to try to tease out from the Government what their thinking is.

This Bill, in particular, contains an enormous amount of regulatory burden affecting the providers of important apprenticeships and training for youngsters. I do not disagree with the substance or the idea of what it is doing, but we must not underestimate the fact that what we are talking about is creating an additional burden. It would be better, in my view, to say that instead of its coming into force at the end of two months beginning on the day on which it is passed, it should come into force on 1 October and we could then re-adopt the practice that was begun, that there should only be two days each year when we commence these regulations.

That is quite a short point, and it will not be made any stronger by repetition, but I hope it will be taken seriously by the Government. I imagine the Minister, having received notice of this amendment, will be able to give me a definitive response from the deregulation unit, or whatever the equivalent body now is that deals with these matters on behalf of the Government and tries to ensure that this is a business-friendly Government.

Years ago, I was on a deregulation taskforce that made many different regulations. I wish this suggestion had been one of the ones that came out of our particular taskforce. It was not, but I think it was a sensible suggestion, so I am trying to use the vehicle of a Friday private Member’s Bill day and the opportunity of the Report stage of this Bill to ventilate the matter and try to engage the Government in a dialogue about it.

Mary Kelly Foy Portrait Mary Kelly Foy (City of Durham) (Lab) [V]
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I will be speaking against the amendment, and I will keep my remarks brief out of consideration for my colleagues whose Bills follow my own.

The intervention by the hon. Member for Christchurch (Sir Christopher Chope) is not, in my opinion, needed for several reasons. First, the guidance he refers to in the amendment was intended to give time for businesses to prepare for costs associated with changes in legislation or for any significant changes in their practices. As this Bill does not result in any increased costs for education providers or any significant burden for business, I would argue that this extra time is not needed.

Secondly, I can assure the hon. Gentleman that many designated safeguarding leads in further education are aware of the potential change in legislation, so again, I do not believe that further time is needed for providers to prepare for the change in law. Finally, as the Bill relates to education and aims at simplifying the safeguarding process for providers of post-16 education, it would make more sense for this legislation to come into effect for the start of the academic year in September. In fact, a change in legislation mid-term would arguably be more burdensome to business.

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Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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Unfortunately, I do not seem to have achieved my purpose, which was to try to draw out a response from the Government the issue of having two separate days each year when regulations are implemented to reduce the burden on business. The promoter of the Bill, the hon. Member for City of Durham (Mary Kelly Foy), and the Minister have said in response, “Well, not me, guv”—this legislation does not impose any fresh burdens, and therefore the point I was making in my amendment and the remarks I made in addressing the amendment are really of no relevance. I think that is really the point that my hon. Friend the Minister is making. I shall have to explore other ways of developing the idea that we should reintroduce the practice that was first introduced in 2010 of having a maximum of two days each year when we introduce regulatory burdens on business, and hopefully many more days when we deregulate. I am grateful to those who have participated in this short debate for explaining that the Bill is not in the least burdensome and that everyone is absolutely hunky-dory about it so we should be content. In those circumstances, I seek leave to withdraw my amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Third Reading

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Christopher Chope Portrait Sir Christopher Chope
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May I, too, wish the Minister a most enjoyable, productive and lazy weekend, bearing in mind that Sunday is also Mother’s Day?

I support the Bill. Obviously, it is desirable that we should maintain the highest standards of looking after our children when they are in the care of others, as they are when they go on training courses, whatever institution that happens to be in. I am lucky to have in my constituency some really good providers of specialist training for apprentices, which is now so popular and effective. I have visited those organisations and met the youngsters who have been through the process and then come back to instruct those currently in training, and it works extremely well. I am sure that the particular training academy that I have in mind will have no problem complying with the provisions of the Bill.

I had not really appreciated—and this has probably not been highlighted enough—that the Bill is arguably deregulatory. Perhaps it does not fit in with their current agenda, but if the Government are still interested in deregulation, they should be putting forward this Bill as an example of deregulation, simplifying the statute book and making it easier for those affected to know which regulations apply to them and which do not. That is just an observation of mine, based on having listened to today’s debate. I have no hesitation whatsoever in supporting those who believe that the Bill should receive its Third Reading.