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Baroness Walmsley: My Lords, perhaps I may press the Minister a little more about the situation of EMA recipients who are attending schools. Schools, unlike colleges, do not have hardship funds, so it is then for the local authority to support young people who are suffering hardship because they have not yet received the grant. Are the Government doing enough to ensure that local authorities are being sufficiently proactive in identifying such young people and giving them support?
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, the Government are clear that no learner should lose out as a result of these delays. I would never be complacent enough to stand here and say that we were doing enough; we never feel that we are doing enough. I will take back the concerns of this House to the department, and we will continue to work as hard as we can to make sure that these young people are getting what they deserve.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): My Lords, the importance of good quality personal, social, health and economic education has never been greater. The Government therefore intend to make PSHE a statutory subject. We recognise that issues such as pressure on the curriculum need to be resolved, so we have launched an independent review led by head teacher Sir Alasdair Macdonald. He will report in April 2009 with recommendations on a practicable way forward.
Baroness Massey of Darwen: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that full response. Does she agree that making PSHE compulsory in the curriculum is a great step forward for education, and one that has been supported by Members of this House and those outside for many years? What steps will be taken to ensure that teachers are properly trained to deliver it and that the materials for teaching will be available?
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, I am delighted to agree with my noble friend that this is an important step forward and to pay tribute to the work
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Baroness Walmsley: My Lords, I congratulate the Minister on making this decision, and I have two questions. First, how will schools be encouraged, helped and perhaps monitored in the extent to which they consult parents when they are developing a curriculum about these sensitive matters that is suitable for the needs of their own young people? Secondly, does the Minister agree that good quality PSHE has a major contribution to make to child safeguarding by giving young people more self-confidence and knowledge about, for example, what is appropriate and inappropriate touching?
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, once PSHE becomes statutory and we have heard from the review looking at this delicate but important subject, the status of the subject will be raised. We have a great facility with Ofsted and the work that it does in reviewing the delivery of the national curriculum and statutory education, and that will continue to be an important tool. We know from that work that there are some schools that deliver very high quality PSHE, and that involves discussing exactly the kind of things that the noble Baroness is talking about. PSHE is not all about sex, though; it is, as the noble Baroness often reminds us, about relationships as well. It is a broad topic, but we need to create a subject that is taught in the whole and in the round by expert, well trained and confident teachers.
Lord Howarth of Newport: My Lords, does my noble friend accept that the dangers arising from sexually transmitted diseases are such that what children should be taught about sex and relationships cannot be regarded simply as a matter of private family responsibility? Will she assure the House that in the future no school will be allowed to shirk its responsibility to provide sex and relationship education, and that no parents will be able to opt their children out of that education in school?
Baroness Morris of Bolton: My Lords, to pick up on the first part of the question raised by the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, parents have a vital role to play in talking to their children about healthy, loving relationships. Can the Minister assure us that working with parents will be central to any changes in sex and relationship education?
The Lord Bishop of Chelmsford: My Lords, in welcoming this, I wonder if the noble Baroness will accept that it is broadly in the home and the family context that children and young people most grow and develop in these matters. What can the Government do to support and help those with parental responsibilities and to enable schools engaging in this education to work in a collaborative mode with the home?
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, following the point made by the noble Baroness, Lady Morris, it is vital that parents are brought into the centre of the schools thinking about developing PSHE. The working group stressed that strongly and I expect that the independent review will want to look at it. The Government have been absolutely clear, particularly in the Childrens Plan, that it is parents, not the Government, who bring up children.
Baroness Howe of Idlicote: My Lords, will the Minister expand a little on what role she expects school governors to play? Does she, for example, expect that at least one of them should take a special interest in the development of this very important new curriculum subject and perhaps report back to the wider school councils on how the scheme is progressing?
Baroness Morgan of Drefelin: My Lords, I hope that the independent review will give us some very important advice on this. Governors have a key role to play in any successful school, and I am sure that that will form part of the reviews advice to us on developing the subject.
The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): My Lords, I beg to move that the Bill be now further considered on Report.
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I was rather caught short by that. This clause has sparked considerable debate and concern during the passage of the Bill in your Lordships House and the other place. We have listened carefully to the arguments put forward,
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These amendments reinstate a requirement for the sustainable energy report to cover a reporting period. We propose that this period should run from January to December, rather than retain the current 12-month reporting period ending with 23 February, which was arbitrarily based on the publication date of the energy White Paper in 2003. This will still enable our report to align with the carbon budget reporting cycle which will be established through the Climate Change Bill.
To ensure a smooth transition from the existing regime, we have provided that the first reporting period will be slightly shorter than subsequent years, lasting from 24 February 2008 until 31 December 2008. Subsequent reporting years will run on a calendar year, as I have already described. In addition, we were also persuaded that it would be helpful to retain a specific period during which the report would need to be published. The current requirement is that a report be published any time between 24 February and 31 December following the end of the reporting period. However, the change of reporting period to a calendar year necessitates a change in publication date also. There are benefits in providing that the report for a particular calendar year be published no later than October the following year. This would commit the Government to report by a certain time in the year, but still enable the appropriate analysis to be completed shortly after all the latest data became available, which is generally between April and July.
Finally, in response to a persuasive argument put forward by the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, we are reinstating the requirement in Section 172 of the Energy Act 2004 for the Secretary of State to report to Parliament on security of energy supplies. The government amendments also cover a number of other, smaller consequential changes to other related legislation to reflect the reinstatement of a reporting period. I hope that this provides reassurance to noble Lords that, following proper reflection on the concerns raised, we have produced amendments that address the issues discussed in your Lordships' House and the other place. I beg to move.
Lord Whitty: My Lords, since Amendment No. 14 stands in my name, I am very happy that the Minister has produced a formulation which meets the points that were behind my tabling amendments in Committee and now. It was not, however, my eloquence which persuaded the Government; in fact, the noble Baroness, Lady Wilcox, had to make reference to my amendments in my absence in Committee. Nevertheless, I am sure that the Minister and his advisers have seen that we need to retain and be explicit about the reporting periods. I was particularly anxious that the reporting requirements remained for the Climate Change and
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Lord Jenkin of Roding: My Lords, the Government have been as good as their word and met the point that I made. We shall watch for the first reports on energy security with great interest. This is a matter of increasing public concern, not least following the interruption of supplies some months ago when two very large power stations happened to go offline at the same time. The reports that one gets from the national grid are sometimes overreassuring about the margins of supply which we enjoy. There is a general perception among those responsible in this area that we are beginning to run up against margins that are too low for comfort. I do not go the whole way with Professor Ian Fells, who has prophesied in a book doom and gloom by the middle of the next decade. I do not believe that that will happen, but the margins are tight. A regular report from the department on security of supply will greatly help the public to understand the position. I am most grateful to the Minister.
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath: My Lords, there is no need for me to respond in detail other than to say to my noble friend that he should not push his luck in relation to his other amendments today. I thank the noble Lord, Lord Jenkin, for his kind remarks. We debated security of energy supply in an Oral Question last week. It is clear that it is a critical issue. I certainly do not believe that it is a position of doom and gloom, but I agree with him that it is a matter on which we have to be ever watchful. I am sure that the regular reports will be helpful to Parliament and others in ensuring that appropriate scrutiny is maintained.
( ) in subsection (1) after paragraph (d) insert
(e) investigating how much energy could be saved through the adoption of a daylight saving scheme.
The noble Viscount said: My Lords, this Bill is undoubtedly a very important measure, covering different aspects of power generation, but it makes no mention of energy saving, which is equally important.
Many of our energy requirements in this country depend on imported supplies, which impinge on the balance of payments. That is why in World War II we had GMT plus one hour in winter and GMT plus two hours in summer. We have just put the clocks back and very shortly it will be dark outside. There are also road
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For many years at the CBI, businesspeople got increasingly frustrated with so many billions of pounds being put into the infrastructure of the nation, both in airports and the Channel Tunnel, to enable the productivity of the economy to integrate fully and increase by full integration with that of our European rivals and markets, only to find that they had to get over to Paris, Frankfurt and Brussels on the night before meetings, for one reason onlybecause we have to put our watches forward by one hour before we can start work over there. That increases inefficiency and costs enormously and means that so much of the benefit that would come from investment in our infrastructure is not realised in the economy.
At the same time, we have the appalling statistic that 420 people die every year on our roads purely because it is dark, which would be to a great extent avoided if we adopted Central European Time. Furthermore, right now, the British economy needs all the help it can get. We have to work even harder and government has to adopt as many measures as possible to increase our efficiency and success to pull our nation out of recession as quickly as possible. This is not the Bill in which to do that, but, if Her Majesty's Government could include some measures in the Queens Speech at last to get this nation on to a level playing field with Europe as regards time, that would be so much the better.
Lord Jones of Birmingham: My Lords, once every five years my birthday falls on the very day when the clocks go back. For all of 53 years I have enjoyed a 25-hour birthday every five years. Therefore, in speaking against myself in the interests of a prolonged celebration every five years, I sincerely hope that we can see the adoption of Central European Time as quickly as possible.
Baroness Billingham: My Lords, this is a straightforward and simple request. We are asking for a scientific paper to review the potential effect of introducing a
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It is inexplicablein fact, inexcusablethat the Government, of whom I am a wholehearted supporter, should shy away from this project. It is a project that brings so many benefits to the people we seek to serve. We are shackled with the past, with dubious evidence constantly quoted in order to stifle the debate. The last experiment took place some 40 years ago. It was abandoned for political reasons, backed by overhasty and flawed examination. Some of the evidence was indeed misleading. Tim Yeo, in the other place, spoke powerfully on his Private Members Bill. He said:
The decision to abandon that experiment was a seriously wrong judgment. In any event, we must now judge the issue on the basis of what it does in today's conditions.[Official Report, Commons, 26/01/07; col. 1679.]
To resist this helpful, positive amendment would appear to most of us to be unreasonable. Other speakers will lay out further evidence. But against the background of the global crisis in economies and the fragile nature of our energy supply, surely any saving should be grasped. If we add to that the pressing issues of climate change, obesity, inactive lifestyles, personal happiness and, most poignantly, the avoidable loss of young lives in accidents on the roads, plus the potential for benefit such as links with continental Europe and tourism, there is an imperative. I can think of few measures that would be more beneficial to more people at so little cost.
I fear that the Minister, my noble friend, will try to persuade us otherwise and that both sides will feel uneasy as a result. Government is nothing if it fails to change policy when it is necessary. Our request today is for an assurance that our proposal will be thoroughly scrutinised with today's facts before us. Let us seek scientific evidence and opinion from all parts of the United Kingdom, from all groups who will be affected by change, so that a rational debate can ensue. It is a straightforward request: we hope for a positive response on this amendment, which is solely based on the notion of the greater good.
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