HC Deb 16 December 1954 vol 535 cc1957-8
19. Mr. J. Johnson

asked the Minister of Education what would be the cost to his Department if he were to abolish the means test for State scholarships and these were given free to successful entrants.

Sir D. Eccles

To abolish the means test would be contrary to the Act of 1944. The extra cost in the last financial year would have been about £800,000.

Mr. Johnson

Is the Minister aware that the payment of fees under this means test bears hardly on many families in the middle income group, and that it may even mean that a child who on his merits wins a scholarship cannot go to the university? Will he think again about this matter and consider amending the 1944 Act?

Sir D. Eccles

I am aware that there are some hard cases, but this is a matter that would require new legislation, which is a matter of difficulty at the present time.

Mr. Ede

In the meantime, will the right hon. Gentleman reconsider the scales under which this means test operates?

Sir D. Eccles


Miss Ward

Is my right hon. Friend aware that I, too, have some suggestions? Will he also consider them if I let him know what they are?

Dame Florence Horsbrugh

When my right hon. Friend is considering this proposal, will he consider having the test on the net income instead of the gross, as the Government have now agreed in the case of the Army, Air Force and Royal Navy scholarships for universities and colleges that the test should be on the net instead of the gross income as hitherto?

Sir D. Eccles

I am very glad that my right hon. Friend has made that kind suggestion, which will be most helpful to me.