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Lord Inglewood moved Amendment No. 103:

Page 29, line 23, after (""employment"") insert (", except in section 7,").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 104 not moved.]

Lord Inglewood moved Amendment No. 105:

Page 30, line 31, at end insert:
(""training" has the meaning prescribed for the purposes of this Act and, in relation to prescribed provisions of this Act, if regulations so provide, includes assistance to find training or employment, or to improve a person's prospects of being employed, of such a kind as may be prescribed.").

The noble Lord said: I beg to move.

Earl Russell: My Lords, I gave the Minister notice when we debated this matter earlier and a few minutes ago that I am not yet happy with the amendment. If the Minister were able to reassure me I would be grateful. The Minister knows that I am concerned that we have definitions that are meaningful, that are watertight and that we are capable of understanding. What we have here is:

I recall the Minister being asked in Committee by the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, whether he could give any previous example of where we have been told in legislation that words have a meaning that shall be prescribed. I too would like to know the answer to that question because it is of importance.

I would also like to know—and it is the only thing that could reassure me about the wording of the amendment—the extent to which the power to call anything "training" is restricted by the words "for the purposes of this Act". Or is that restriction not as powerful as I would have hoped because many of the purposes of this Act are hereafter to be disclosed?

The second part of the amendment, which relates to assistance to find training or improving a person's prospects of being employed, is in principle more welcome. But that part of the amendment is to come into force only if regulations so provide. We are not told whether the Secretary of State will be graciously pleased to make regulations or whether this is just an empty provision in case he might feel like playing with it some time in the future. The assistance too is:

    "of such a kind as may be prescribed".

When the Minister brings to this House proposals to grant him vires he will have to get used to being asked what else could be done under those vires. That is a question that all Parliaments ought to ask at all times. Personally, I intend to continue to ask it. For example, at present training is governed by provisions similar to those governing training allowance. One has to register for youth training in order to receive training allowance. Can the Government guarantee that they will continue to change the provisions for training and training allowance at the same time?

I understand that there is no present intention to introduce workfare. I am not attempting to create a scare about that. However, if some future Government—and I am not assuming that this Government with this

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Leader will necessarily be in office for the remainder of this Parliament—were to wish to introduce workfare, could they do so under these vires without the need for additional legislation? If the Opposition's proposals for citizen's service were to be put forward, could they be introduced under these vires without any need for primary legislation?

If a future Government were to decide to reintroduce National Service, could that be done under these vires without the need for primary legislation? They are real questions and I ask them because I do not know the answers. None of those things should be carried out without primary legislation giving us a good chance to look at what is being done.

I have already asked the Minister whether he could avoid difficulties by not pressing this amendment at this time of night, as I have refrained from pressing amendments on the definition of training which were not congenial to the Minister. It is perhaps possible that by rather less public consultation we might be able to find a way of satisfying each other before Third Reading. I fear that on Third Reading we might reach the provisions at very much the same time of night since they come at the end of the Bill. Is the Minister able to do anything to help me about that matter or are we left eyeball to eyeball? I would rather avoid that if possible.

11.45 p.m.

Lord Inglewood: My Lords, with the leave of the House, the noble Earl has raised a number of points. I must return to some of the comments that were made when we debated the matter yesterday. I explained that the definition locked in with the proposals that we have made regarding training and other assistance. As the noble Earl pointed out, the definition in the amendment contains a number of elements. It begins by stating:

    "'training' has the meaning prescribed for the purposes of this Act".

One of the points which the noble Earl raised was how the meaning of "training" might be changed in hypothetical circumstances and whether that in turn would flow across into other legislation. It is clear from this clause that the meaning which "training" is given in this context is restricted to this piece of legislation. I hope that that narrows the compass of what we are talking about.

It also—and this is important in the context of where we are now—relates to a definition which includes, where appropriate:

    "assistance to find training or employment, or to improve a person's prospects of being employed, of such a kind as may be prescribed".

That is important because if we go back to the debate which we had last night, part of the point of this change was that it was, in turn, part of a series of changes which dealt with the wider issue of other assistance.

If we lose that definition it will have a consequential effect on the scope of the Bill in so far as it relates to other assistance as I have described it. Therefore, if we lose that definition it will have a potential knock-on effect on something about which there was no disagreement, something which was desirable.

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While we have no intention of prescribing a meaning to that at present, because at this stage we have no plans to introduce other assistance, we believe that we need the power because in future we may wish to include job preparation courses or education which are not, in themselves, in the nature of training. But we provide that such other assistance should be such that it will improve the jobseeker's job prospects, which is consistent with the argument that I have used and my explanation of the purpose of this legislation.

The crucial point that was raised by the noble Earl was about the meaning of "training". What does the meaning of "training" amount to? How far can that definition go? Can it include, as the noble Earl suggested, workfare? The precise meaning which will be given in regulations, if the amendment is made, has already been given to the House in the exposition that I gave yesterday. We have in mind something along the lines of training for young people provided directly or indirectly pursuant to an operating agreement between the Secretary of State and the TEC. That does not satisfy the noble Earl because he is concerned about what may be described as an "oppressive" government would do. I am advised that the word "training" must mean training or assistance of the kind described in the amendment. In our view, it cannot have a meaning which could be extended beyond that. For example, it cannot encompass ordinary employment.

Training has a natural meaning. It is not possible to define exactly a meaning extending beyond that except with the addition of "other assistance" which is limited to assistance,

    "to find training or employment, or to improve a person's prospects of being employed".

The power to prescribe the meaning of "training" in regulations allows us to prescribe a precise meaning for the particular training that we are talking about whereas, if a definition were to be written onto the face of the Bill, inevitably it would have to be extremely wide. I do not believe that that would necessarily be of assistance in trying to help jobseekers, whether they be younger or older, to have a successful jobsearch because your Lordships will remember that, in speaking earlier about the steps which the Employment Service is trying to take in relation to schemes, the key element is that the schemes are those onto which the Employment Service puts the jobseeker. Therefore, we wish to be able to define the relevant schemes for those purposes by reference to what the Employment Service will be wanting to do. I very much hope that that will reassure the noble Earl and that he will feel able, as a result, to withdraw his objections to the amendment.

Earl Russell: My Lords, I am most grateful to the Minister for his help. However, with the leave of the House, I wonder whether I might ask for a little further assistance on two points. First, I am not quite clear as to the nature of "the purposes of" the legislation; secondly, I am not quite sure about the meaning of "training" such as described in the amendment. Is the Minister telling me that it can only be found to be training if it involves assistance to find training or

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employment, or to improve a person's prospects of being employed? If the Minister could say yes to that question, it would materially assist me.

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