HC Deb 10 October 1946 vol 427 cc349-50
34. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Education whether she is aware of the continued delays in dealing with applications for awards under the Further Education and Training Scheme; and what action she proposes to take.

Mr. Hardman

My right hon. Friend is most anxious that candidates for awards should receive a decision as quickly as possible, and I can assure my hon. Friend that there is no avoidable delay, taking into account the large number of applications which have greatly increased in the last few months, the need for training the new clerical staff required, and the great shortage of typing staff.

Mr. Swingler

Does the Minister regard six months' delay as reasonable, and is he aware that a large number of ex-Servicemen suffer considerable financial embarrassment owing to the delay in making these awards?

Mr. Hardman

I would inform the hon. Member that we are very sympathetic towards this delay for a special reason. At the end of the first world war I, myself, had to wait three years before beginning my university training. Of course, that may have been a good thing.

Mr. De la Bère

What has that go to do with it?

Mr. Hardman

It indicates that there is some recognition at the Ministry of what this long delay means and that we have every sympathy with those graduates who are waiting. It may be of interest to the House to know that the increase in the number of applicants between March and September is from 1,816 to 3,658 a month. I can assure my hon. Friend that we shall do everything to prevent the delay continuing.

Mr. lipson

Will the Minister say what increase has been made in the number of assessors in order to speed matters up in view of the greatly increased number of applications?

Mr. Hardmnn

I should be glad to find out that information for the hon. Member, but I cannot give it today.

Mr. De la Bère

Why not get on with it?