HC Deb 28 February 1963 vol 672 cc1438-9
27. Mr. Spriggs

asked the Minister of of Education if he is aware of the considerable differences in the amount of grants made to students by different local education authorities; and if, as a preliminary to legislation, he will institute an inquiry into the matter.

Sir E. Boyle

All authorities make awards in accordance with the Education Act, 1962, and Regulations made under it, which impose a duty in respect of students with specified qualifications attending recognised courses and also prescribe the level of grants. The Act leaves to the authorities discretion as to other students and other courses and I do not propose to interfere with that discretion or to suggest a change in the law.

Mr. Spriggs

This information is needed urgently because many students attending art colleges cannot get financial assistance. Will the Minister reconsider his Answer, hold an inquiry and get the information for which I ask? If he does, we can possibly put before him proposals whereby students who choose the arts as a subject will not be left out.

Sir E. Boyle

The hon. Member is, no doubt, aware that this matter was fully discussed during the passage of the 1962 Act. I appreciate that the decisions of education authorities in relation to nonequivalent courses—that is principally further education courses below degree standard—will vary, but the courses cover such a wide range that it would not be practicable to prescribe suitable awards by regulation. I am not yet convinced that the inquiry would be worth while, but if the hon. Member would like to see me or write to me about it I will, of course, be perfectly ready to discuss the matter with him.