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Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I do not want in any way to pre-empt the debate, but I should inform noble Lords that the Government are not resisting the amendments. We will agree to consider them further. That might help the debate.
Baroness Howe of Idlicote: My Lords, I apologise for not having been in action during the earlier stages of the Bill. I had hoped to speak at greater length on an earlier amendment, which was not moved.
It could be assumed that Clause 5(3)(f) might include parents, social services and schools, but it would be clearer if those people were included in the Bill. As with the consultation, they are included in subsection(3)(a) with the police. As we know, social inclusion is a major government objective. So it is important that the views of those with an interest in and broad experience of what is happening in their community are not only listened to, but acted upon.
One of the four key objectives placed on licensing authorities is the protection of children from harm. It is an admirable sentiment. However, should we not take it one stage further and ensure that children themselves are heard in these matters? Now that citizenship is a compulsory part of the curriculum, might not a local youth parliament or youth club also serve as appropriate consultees?
Lord Redesdale: My Lords, although I support the sentiment behind Amendment No. 33 and the great work done by the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, in relation to children, I believe that the groups which he
Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I am grateful to the House, and I pay tribute to the work done by the noble Lord, Lord Northbourne, in respect of the interests of children. Of course we recognise the importance of this issue to the House and to the wider public, as the noble Baroness, Lady Buscombe, indicated. We have been keen to ensure that as the debate on the Bill develops, we consult groups such as children's charities, Alcohol Concern, the police and the Association of Directors of Social Services to ensure that their concerns are taken into account.
The policy enshrined in the Bill is exactly that contained in the White Paper which received widespread support. Nevertheless, we are currently engaged in a further round of consultation to ensure that the policy we operate is the right one. I therefore hope that I can avoid detaining the House on this group of amendments by saying that the proposals represented in Amendments Nos. 33 and 34namely, that the local area child protection committee, schools, social services and parents should be consulted on the development of a local licensing policyare indeed worthy of further consideration. Indeed, very similar proposals have been made to us directly by the Children's Society. However, I should draw attention to the fact that, as the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, indicated, Clause 5 already includes consultation with
That said, we certainly intend to examine the proposals very closely. Depending on the progress of consultation, we shall return to the issue at a later stage of the Bill or address it in another place. On that basis, and with the assurance that we are taking these representations very seriously indeed, we hope that the amendments will not be pressed.
Lord Northbourne: My Lords, I am most grateful to the noble Lord for that very encouraging reply. However, I do not think that "residents" is the same as "parents". Of course some of the residents are parents, but it is parents in their role as parents that is so important. All the social services in the world cannot do what parents can do. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
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