We proceed to consideration of section 43, amendment No. 177 in the name of Deputy Sherlock. Amendment No. 178 is cognate therefore, with your agreement amendment No. 177 and amendment No. 178 will be taken together. Agreed.

I move amendment No. 177:

In page 20, subsection (1), line 10, to delete "not exceeding £1,000" and substitute "not less than £100 and not exceeding £1,000".

The effect of these amendments would be to create a mandatory minimum fine of £100 for offences in relation to pre-school services. The normal practice in legislation is to set the maximum level of fine as we have done here at £1,000, but it is not usual to lay down a minimum fine. There is an important principle involved here. The decision on the level of financial penalty is a matter for the court to determine in each case having regard to the particular circumstances of that case. Laying down a minimum fine would, to some extent, interfere with judicial discretion in dealing with individual cases, for example, there could be a very minor breach of the regulations which the justice might consider merited a fine of, say, £25 or £50. If we accept these amendments, the justice would not be able to impose fines of that level and some operators of pre-school services might suffer unnecessarily severe penalties as a result. I would ask Deputy Sherlock to reconsider his amendments.

I hold strongly that besides having a maximum fine there must be a minimum fine and that was the reason behind moving the amendment.

Amendment No. 177, by leave, withdrawn.
Amendment No. 178 not moved.
Section 43 agreed to.

That is the end of Part VI and we do not wish to proceed to the consideration of Part VII now. We will meet again at 4.30 p.m., Tuesday, 15 May 1990. Thank you.

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.
The Committee adjourned at 6.55 p.m. until 4.30 p.m. on Tuesday, 15 May 1990.