HC Deb 20 December 1960 vol 632 cc1065-6
43. Mrs. White

asked the Prime Minister if he will now give the composition and terms of reference of the Committee which is to inquire into higher education.

The Prime Minister

I am happy to say that Professor Lord Robbins has found it possible to accept the chairmanship of the Committee.

The terms of reference will be as follows: To review the pattern of full-time higher education in Great Britain and in the light of national needs and resources to advise Her Majesty's Government on what principles its long-term development should be based. In particular, to advise, in the light of these principles, whether there should be any changes in that pattern, whether any new types of institution are desirable and whether any modifications should be made in the present arrangements for planning and co-ordinating the development of the various types of institution. The long-term development of universities, colleges of advanced technology, certain other colleges of further education and teacher training colleges, will be within these terms of reference.

I am not yet in a position to give the full composition of the Committee, but the membership will include people with first-hand knowledge of various aspects of higher education in Great Britain. I will make a further announcement as soon as possible.

Mrs. White

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the Labour Party first asked for this inquiry in 1953, and has been asking for it at intervals ever since; and that we are, therefore, delighted that Her Majesty's Government have at last caught up with us? In considering the composition of the Committee, will the right hon. Gentleman take into account the consumers—in other words, the students—and see that they also have some representation?

The Prime Minister

I will consider that. Naturally, I am very tempted to the position taken by the hon. Lady, but I think that, on the whole, I would prefer to leave the student question. What we have to do is to get a very broad representation, and in doing so, we have tried to deal with all the various possible groups that ought to be considered.