Ministers have agreed to compromise over the “flawed” Childcare Bill set to introduce 30 hours of free childcare after The Independent on Sunday revealed that there was dismay over the legislation being “vague” and could leave parents and nursery staff vulnerable to prison sentences.
A second House of Lords committee issued a rebuke to the Government stating that the Childcare Bill was a “particularly egregious example” of “vaguely worded legislation that leaves much to the discretion of ministers”.
Schools minister, Lord Nash, told his peers that he will provide further detail on funding and other issues related to the 30 free hours of childcare before they vote on the Bill in autumn.
The Childcare Bill is coming under fire from Tory, Labour, Lib Dem and cross bench peers as it is only 6 clauses long and contains sweeping powers regarding jail sentences for anyone who failed to check if both parents were working.
Now the cross-party Lords Constitution Committee has issued a report accusing the government of trying to impose Henry VIII like powers, giving ministers authority to introduce regulations without parliamentary scrutiny.
The committee has stated: “In our last report, we drew attention to a concerning trend – a tendency by the Government to introduce vaguely worded legislation that leaves much to the discretion of ministers.”
“The Childcare Bill is a particularly egregious example of this development. It confers wide discretionary powers on the Secretary of State, including Henry VIII powers, with few indications as to how those powers should be used to achieve the objectives set out in the Bill.”
“We … wish to express our concern at this … example of a continuing trend … to which we draw the attention of the House.”