HC Deb 10 March 1911 vol 22 cc1818-9

Motion made, and Question proposed,

"That a Supplementary Sum, not exceeding £4,000, be granted to His Majesty to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1911, for Grants-in-Aid to Universities and Colleges in Great Britain."


I wish to ask why these two particular universities are selected for an extra grant. If you compare the grants made to universities in various parts of the Kingdom you will find that students in the University of London come off much worse than those in other universities. I believe the grant per head of the students in the schools connected with London University works out at about £5 10s., whereas in the case of the University of Wales it is £12. I should like to have an assurance that the case of London is being considered.


Supplementary Estimates should be asked for only in respect of unforeseen circumstances, and that being so I cannot for the life of me understand why these fresh grants should be asked for. The Universities of Durham and Bristol have both been in existence for some time, and the grants to be made to them should have been known at the beginning of the year. Everyone knows the extreme difficulty which Universities have in making ends meet; they must be run on sound financial lines, and that cannot be done unless they have some idea at the beginning of the year as to the amount they will receive from the Treasury. I shall not oppose the Vote; I simply wish to enter a protest against such sums being granted by way of Supplementary Estimates.

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Mr. Haldane)

The reason why Bristol comes in is that the University has been reconstituted, and it has taken some considerable time to get that arrangement into shape. The same is true of Durham. The University there was reconstituted in 1908, and the reconstituted arrangements have only just become operative. These are the circumstances which have led to the Supplementary Estimates; the grants could not have been included in the Estimates last year. As Chairman of the Royal Commission, I am not likely to have overlooked the case of London University. The Grants are allocated by the Treasury Committee on certain principles, such as the amount of local assistance and the extent of other resources enjoyed by the Universities. It is true that, judged by these tests, London has not come off so far so well as other places. The standards have been applied justly, but London does not come off so well as other places where they have large local resources. I can assure hon. Members the point has not escaped serious consideration.


Has any progress been made with co-ordinating the Grants to the University of London as between the Board of Education and the Treasury?


That matter is receiving very close attention.