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So more money is certainly going into the system, but we do have to make real choices about priorities. We are not cutting adult education funding, but we are
re-prioritising, saying that adult basic skills and work-based trainingsuch as the train-to-gain initiativehas to be the priority. We are putting extra resources into those areas, but we are not saying that non-vocational adult education is not valuable. However, we are saying that we expect the individual to make a slightly greater contribution. [Interruption.] The hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings nods, and there is indeed a consensus on this issue. We need to bring about a cultural change that ensures that individuals contribute more to their learning, and that employers do so as well. I am very pleased to say that this week we launched the basic skills campaign, using major TV, radio and other forms of advertising to get across to people the message about the importance of skills, and the investment and commitment that they make as individuals.
The hon. Gentleman also asked about the Leitch implementation planthe Governments response to Sandy Leitchs important and ground-breaking report. I made it clear earlier and I reiterate that we will produce our response to Sandy Leitchs proposals very shortly. I repeat: nothing in this Bill contradicts the strategy that we are putting forward. Many times today and in Committee, the hon. Gentleman has tried to make great play of that issue, but when we launch the implementation plan, he will see that it is absolutely coherent and consistent with the measures in the Bill.
The hon. Gentleman also questioned me about the powers of interventionan issue on which we have had a major debate this afternoon. He wanted me to make it clear that the Government are committed to FE colleges, and we certainly are. Indeed, we are committed to the FE sector in a way that no previous Government ever were. He also asked me to make it clear that we want greater independence and self-regulation for colleges, and we certainly do, which is why we are introducing the proposals on self-regulation. He also wanted me to commit ourselves, following the Leitch proposals, to a further series of bold measures and steps, which we certainly will.
We are therefore responding to the concerns that the hon. Gentleman has expressed, and we want to move much further in the direction of self-regulation. However, and as I said earlier, at the same time, in extremis, when all else has failed, it is absolutely right that we retain, through the Learning and Skills Council, powers of intervention. As I said earlier, if Opposition Members discovered that a college in their constituency was fundamentally failing and were told that there was no power of intervention in those circumstances, they would not be happy with that. That is why the proposals in the Bill are so important.
My hon. Friend the Member for Luton, North (Kelvin Hopkins) made an important contribution. I genuinely pay tribute to the work he has done as joint chair of the all-party further education and lifelong learning group. He has been an absolute champion
That the draft Gambling Act 2005 (Horserace Betting Levy) Order 2007, which was laid before this House on 13th June, be approved.
That the draft Gambling Act 2005 (Horserace Totalisator Board) Order 2007, which was laid before this House on 13th June, be approved.
That the draft Gambling Act 2005 (Amendment of Schedule 6) Order 2007, which was laid before this House on 13th June, be approved.
That the draft Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 (Exceptions) (Amendment) (England and Wales) Order 2007, which was laid before this House on 13th June, be approved.
That the draft Double Taxation Relief (Taxes on Income) (Macedonia) Order 2007, which was laid before this House on 14th June, be approved.
That the draft International Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters Order 2007, which was laid before this House on 19th June, be approved. [Mark Tami.]
That the draft Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 (Northern Ireland Political Parties) Order 2007, which was laid before this House on 21st June, be approved. [Mark Tami.]
(1) the matter of policing reform in Northern Ireland (progress to date) be referred to the Northern Ireland Grand Committee;
(2) the Committee shall meet at Westminster on Tuesday 24th July at half-past four oclock; and
(3) at that sitting
(a) the Committee shall take questions under Standing Order No. 110 (Northern Ireland Grand Committee (questions for oral answer)), and shall then consider the matter referred to it under paragraph (1) above;
(b) the Chairman shall interrupt proceedings not later than two and a half hours after the commencement of proceedings on the matter referred to the Committee; and
(c) at the conclusion of those proceedings, a motion for the adjournment of the Committee may be made by a Minister of the Crown, pursuant to paragraph (5) of Standing Order No. 116 (Northern Ireland Grand Committee (sittings)). [Mark Tami.]
Mike Penning (Hemel Hempstead) (Con): It is a pleasure for me to be in the Chamber this evening with my colleague, my hon. Friend the Member for South-West Hertfordshire (Mr. Gauke), to speak on an issue dear to the hearts of residents of Dacorum. All too often, young people are derided as having no interest in their local community, but two excellent young men, Alfie Rolfe and Charlie Baker, pupils of the Aycliffe Drive primary school in Hemel Hempstead in my constituency, have put together a petition to try to save their hospital. I praise those young people for the work they have done.
The petition notes that to move acute services and maternity services to an already overcrowded Watford Hospital and demolish the hospital in Hemel Hempstead would be detrimental to the health of the people of Hemel Hempstead and South-West Hertfordshire, and that the large population of Hemel Hempstead should keep the hospital that was built for them. The petition urges the Government to use their powers to stop the hospital closure.
To the House of Commons.
The Petition of Pupils of Aycliffe Drive Primary School of the Dacorum district of Hertfordshire,
Declares that the current consultation of the West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust is flawed and seeks to damage our local health service. It overlooks the fact that Hemel Hempstead General Hospital is modernised.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to call in the current flawed consultation of the West Hertfordshire Hospitals trust.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.
Mr. David Gauke (South-West Hertfordshire) (Con): It is a pleasure to be in the presence of my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning) to speak about Britains inland waterwaysan issue that is important to his constituents as well as to mine.
I have a somewhat diverse and disparate constituency, but one thing that Rickmansworth, Berkhamsted and Tring have in common is the fact that the Grand Union canal runs through them. There is thus considerable concern about the future of British Waterways. I am grateful to Ms Debbie Figueiredo,
Mr. Simon Weightman, Mr. Clive Fennell and Ms Sue Thompson for their work in collecting signatures for the following petition.
To the House of Commons.
The Petition of the constituents of South West Hertfordshire and other users of Britains inland waterways,
Declares that our inland waterways are a unique national asset that provides an important contribution to the quality of life for millions of our citizens. We therefore are deeply concerned that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has seen fit to reduce British Waterways grant by some £60 million over the next 5 years and that of the Environment Agency by £25 million in this financial year. We believe that these cuts will have a devastating effect upon the well-being of inland waterways.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons call upon the Government to introduce legislation to solve the immediate problems caused by these cuts to current budgets and to ensure that long-term funding is guaranteed to enable continued investment and restoration of the waterways.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.
Ms Sally Keeble (Northampton, North) (Lab): I am grateful for this opportunity to debate the very tragic death of Gareth Myatt, to ensure that the lessons that should be learned are learned, and that Gareths mother, Pam, knows that other children and young people will have more safeguards.
Gareths death was a terrible event in which a 15-year-old boy, 4 ft 10 in tall, weighing 6Â1/2 stone, was restrained by three members of staff and died. The details of what happened are harrowing. He went into Rainsbrook secure training centre in Northamptonshire on Friday 16 April 2004. He was restrained the first evening that he was there and then again on the Monday evening over, of all things, a row about a sandwich toaster. It was not just a tragedy; it was a scandal that it was possible for such a slight incident to escalate into the death of a boy. However, there is a second scandal in all this: the complete stonewalling of attempts by virtually everyone concerned about what goes on in the system to try to get some improvements made in the regime that led to Gareths death. I pay tribute at the outset to the organisations that have campaigned on the issuein particular Inquest, which supported Gareths mother to ensure that all the details of her sons death were set out at the inquest in Northamptonshire, and the Howard League for Penal Reform.
As you know, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I have been unable to raise questions in Parliament about Gareths death because of the sub judice rule. There was only the briefest of official Home Office statements, and for three and a half years there has been no calling to account of the Executive over what happened to Gareth. Despite all the anxieties about the risks of the regime that led to his death, that regime has now been relaxed to lower the threshold for the use of restraint, which is why there is such anger about statutory instrument No. 1709.
I want to go through some of what happened to Gareth, so that the full horror is on the record. The summing up by Judge Richard Pollard, who presided at the inquest, set out the sequence of events. Gareth was the last person to use the units sandwich toaster on the Sunday evening and took exception when he was asked to clean it up. You clear it up, he told staff. He was asked to go to his room, and the CCTV footage shows him calmly waiting to go to his room, where he was locked in. Shortly afterwards, he was visited by two members of staffa man and a womanto discuss his behaviour. He told them to get out of the room because they had no right to be there. He was then told that, because he was not calming down, the staff needed to take some stuff out of his room, and they began doing just that. They took out a magazine, then some papers and pencils. The staff said, Youre not doing what we asked you, so I dont see why should have these. They then took another piece of paper that had Gareths mothers new mobile phone number on it, and he shouted at themI am sure that you will stop me if this is unparliamentary, Mr. Deputy SpeakerYoure not fucking taking that, and then Dont take my mums phone number.
Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Alan Haselhurst): Order. The hon. Lady should realise that words are no more acceptable because they are given in a quote. Mr. Speaker has ruled on that. She allowed herself to use that word, without my being able to stop her.
Ms Keeble: That was when the struggle started, and it was said that Garetha 6Â1/2 stone boyclenched his fist and swung it at the man. The officers and Gareth ended up lying on his bed, with one member of staff holding his legs and another holding his upper body. A third officer, also a man, came into the room, and Gareth was placed in an approved hold: a seated double embrace, with two members of staff holding his upper body, his torso pushed forward and one officer holding his head.
Gareth then said that he could not breathe, so the officer told him, If youre shouting, you can breathe. He then said that he was going to defecate, and was told, You will have to then, and he actually did so. Those were his last words. Finally, while still restrained, Gareth was sick. When he was released, he was unconscious and all attempts at resuscitation failed. One member of staff concluded, I should never have PCCed; he was half my size. It was rather like having run over a cat and then thinking...if I hadnt gone down that street, it wouldnt have happened.
The jury found that the officer who restrained Gareth caused the death accidentallysomething that, although the correct decision, the family understandably finds hard to accept. However, this was an accident waiting to happena completely preventable disasterbecause the jury also found that a string of failings in the system had caused Gareths death. That is what I want to turn to in some detail.
As my right hon. Friend the Minister will know, there have been a series of criticisms of restraint in secure training centres over the years leading up to, and since, Gareths death. Those include concerns about the holds used, the frequency with which they have been used, and the injuries suffered by trainees and staff; concerns that the deliberate infliction of pain is being used as a means of control to get compliance; and concerns about the training of staff, the recording and reporting of incidents of restraint, the role of the Youth Justice Board and the lack of transparency. Virtually all those things were found by the jury at Gareths inquest to be failings that contributed to his death.
The findings of the jury in relation to the YJB were damning. They found that there had been an inadequate assessment of the safety of physical control in care and, in particular, an inadequate assessment of the seated double embrace before it was introduced, and that that inadequate assessment caused or contributed to Gareths death. I know that my right hon. Friend the Minister will say that that particular hold has been banned, but the jury finding related to the whole system of PCC. The inquest heard that as early as 1998 it was known that there needed to be a
review, and by the end of the 1990s it was accepted that restraint could cause death. The judge commented in his summing up:
somewhere in the grey corridors of whitehall the obligation was overlooked, eventually the quest for uniformity in the whole juvenile estate and the commission of the NCB review taking the civil service eye off the ball...Even an apparent assurance by a minister Mr Paul Boateng on 8.6.2000 did not ensure that a review took place.
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