§ 9.25 p.m.
§ Lord Davies of Oldham
rose to move, That the draft regulations laid before the House on 28th February be approved [10th Report from the Joint Committee].
The noble Lord said: My Lords, the regulations are purely technical and present amendments to two existing regulations only: Jobseeker's Allowance Regulations 1 and 11. Both amendments are consequential to the Learning and Skills Act 2000.
The core of the Act is the establishment of a new non-departmental public body, the Learning and Skills Council in England, which will be responsible for post-16 learning, other than higher education. Noble Lords will be aware that the Learning and Skills Council will assume responsibility from April 2001, and will take over functions performed by the Further Education Funding Council in England and the functions currently contracted by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment to Training and Enterprise Councils. The Learning and Skills Council will operate through a network of 47 local councils.
Noble Lords will know that the Act also brings about changes in Wales. It creates a new National Council for Education and Training in Wales with broadly similar functions to the Learning and Skills Council in England, but with some variations to reflect Welsh circumstances. Responsibility for the delivery of training for unemployed people in England will transfer to the Employment Service.
The Act also enables the Secretary of State for Education and Employment to establish a new youth support service in England, to be known as the Connexions Service. The aim of the new service will be to work with young people of all abilities to give them advice, guidance and support to participate effectively in learning. In Wales, the Act empowers the National Assembly for Wales to enhance local youth support services for all 11 to 25 year-olds through local authorities, voluntary organisations or others.
The arrangements in both Scotland and Northern Ireland relating to the provision of post-16 education, training and support services for young people are devolved. In Northern Ireland, social security matters are also devolved. The Learning and Skills Act therefore does not affect either Scotland or Northern Ireland.
1528 Amendments are required to two of the jobseeker's allowance regulations. The first is Regulation 1 as it defines "full-time course of advanced education" and "full-time student". In both definitions, reference is made to courses funded or part-funded by the Further Education Funding Council as being subject to the 16-hour study rule. We propose to amend Regulation 1 to refer to the Learning and Skills Council, which will assume the functions of the Further Education Funding Council in England. Reference has also been made to the National Council for Education and Training, which will perform a parallel function in Wales. The amendment is technical and does not reflect any change in policy.
The second amendment is required to Regulation 11, where it defines "training" as that provided directly or indirectly by a Training and Enterprise Council pursuant to its arrangements with the Secretary of State. We propose to amend Regulation 11 to reflect the fact that the Learning and Skills Council in England and the National Council for Education and Training in Wales will assume the functions of Training and Enterprise Councils when the TEC contracts end on 25th March 2001. Once again, this amendment is purely technical and does not alter the policy intent of Regulation 11, which is concerned with the treatment of people studying part-time whilst on JSA.
There are other technical amendments to be made to the jobseeker's allowance and other income-related benefit regulations resulting from the Learning and Skills Act; however, those are subject to negative resolution and have been laid before the House as a separate set of regulations. But these two amendments are being presented to the House today because they are subject to affirmative resolution, as determined by Section 37 of the Jobseeker's Act 1995.
In conclusion, I repeat that these are purely technical amendments which are necessary to reflect the assumption of responsibility by the Learning and Skills Council. I commend the regulations to the House.
Moved, That the draft regulations laid before the House on 28th February be approved [10th Report from the Joint Committee].—(Lord Davies of Oldham.)
§ Baroness Miller of Hendon
My Lords, I thank the noble Lord for his clear exposition of the meaning of these regulations. We certainly agree that they are both technical and necessary. We accept the regulations.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House adjourned at half past nine o'clock.