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Interpretation And Commencement

Volume 10: debated on Thursday 22 October 1981

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Lords amendment: No. 7, in page 14, line 2, after "order" insert "made by statutory instrument"

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.

I am sorry that the last amendment has less blood in it than some of the others, but with their ingenuity hon. Members can always find something to talk about on any amendment. However, this amendment is a technical amendment par excellence.

The Government's intention always has been that commencement orders should be made by statutory instrument, as they were in relation to the 1980 Act. That enables commencement orders to have the widest possible circulation and the world at large to have a reference point for when the provision becomes operative. I am sure that the House welcomes that and I commend it to the House.

Many of us have spent a long time on the Bill and it has been improved. I acknowledge that some would have liked to go further. Much has been done to integrate children in normal schools, to extend parental influence and to give them more information about what is going on. Those matters are important.

I appreciate the help that we have received in strengthening the Bill and ensuring that the guidelines have as many teeth as possible.

I shall give way. I am delighted that the hon. Gentleman is with us for the ultimate celebration.

Since the Minister has been so generous to everybody, can he give a firm commitment that the Government will make enough resources available to carry out the legislation?

I understand that the amendment deals with the commencement order. It is reasonable to argue that the legislation cannot be commenced unless the money is there.

I do not wish to confuse the House by speaking about resources at this stage. Much though I welcome the comments by the hon. Member for Stockport, North (Mr. Bennett), I shall not be tempted to deviate from your ruling, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

The Bill is non-partisan. The arguments have been about resources, not the Bill's provisions. We are delighted that we have got so far with it. The hon. Member for Eccles (Mr. Carter-Jones) said that I would go down in history. I hope that the Bill is the beginning of an improvement in the treatment of children with special needs throughout the education system.

Question put and agreed to.