HC Deb 17 July 1963 vol 681 cc544-656

3.59 p.m.

Mrs. Eirene White (Flint, East)

I beg to move, to leave out "£2,679,000" and to insert "£2,678,000" Instead thereof.

This little formality is a preliminary to a debate upon higher education. I think that we have chosen a most apposite day for it, perhaps not in one senseof the word, because a number of our colleagues are engaged on a social occasion, but in another sense, because it is during this week that the representatives of the universities of the Commonwealth are meeting in London, Men and women of the greatest distinction in academic life are amongst us, and I think that it would be the general wish of the House to extend our warmest good wishes to them in their deliberations. I wish that I had sufficient time today to discuss some of the problems of Commonwealth co-operation, but that will have to be left for another occasion.

We are discussing this matter with some difficulty in another context. We are, and have been for a long time, waiting for the Robbins report. One consolation is that, unlike Go dot, Robbins is likely to appear. I hope that the report will appear not later than October next, which, I understand, is the proposed date for the publication of this extremely important document. I say that advisedly, because a great many decisions have already been taken, and many more ought to be taken speedily, with which the Robbing Committee must concern itself.

We on this side considered that an inquiry of this nature was long overdue. It was, I believe, first in 1954 and certainly again in 1956, that our colleague Lord Longford, in another place, asked for this kind of inquiry. However, better late than never. As I say, we are most eagerly awaiting this report. It will be a classic document in British education.

Meanwhile, the Labour Party has not been idle. We have produced our own Report, the Taylor Report. Lord Taylor was the chairman of our working party. We have called it, advisedly, "The Years of Crisis", because we believe that the country is facing a very serious crisis in higher education. Of course, this Report is no more than a sketch. It is not intended to be more than that. We recognise that we have not at our disposal the full panoply of sociologists, demographers and the rest which the Robbins Committee can command, but it has already served a very useful purpose in stimulating discussion and preparing people's minds for whatever recommendations the Robbins Committee may make.

I propose to say a few words about the Taylor Report, but I think that we should, first, pay tribute to the late Hugh Gaitskell in this context, because it was he who felt so passionately about the situation in higher education that he asked Lord Taylor and some other of his colleagues to study the matter and to make the earliest possible report.

I have little doubt that today, as is usual on these occasions, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury and the Minister of Education will attempt to blind us with favourable statistics. We have had this exercise a number of times before. For instance, the Chief Secretary, no doubt, will remind us that the Government have accepted a target of 150,000 university places by 1966–67; that the colleges of advanced technology are to be doubled in numbers from 10,500 to 21,000 in some unspecified period; that the teacher training collegeshave provided many more places; that the local education authority grants for university and other advanced students now number more than 100,000 a year, and so on, and so forth.

We would not dream of denying any of it. All of it, as far as it goes, is to be commended What the Ministers may be more reluctant to tell us is that the Government target for university places is considerably lower than that put forward to the Robbins Committee by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors. Whereas the Government say that we should have 170,000 places by 1973–74, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors was of the opinion that we could reach 175,000 places by 1970 without lowering standards.

The Chief Secretary and the Minister of Education are also less likely to emphasise the fact that thousands of students last year, this year, next year and the year after will not be able to find places in universities or in teacher training colleges, although qualified to do so and although the community needs their talents and skill. They are not likely to say that, owing to the action of the Treasury in the past couple of years, universities and university departments have run into deficit, that expansion plans have been thwarted, and that the administrative and academic staff were completely demoralised last year by the really myopic clumsiness of Treasury action.

I believe that 1962 was one of the most shameful years in the relationship between Government and university that one can find. The bludgeoning of the former Chief Secretary, "Honest Henry"—I refer, of course, to the present Home Secretary—is something from which university morale will take some little while to recover. It is true that the present Chief Secretary has been able to pour just a little balm on the wounds. He was, first, able to announce that an additional £5 million would be provided in order to catch up with the commitment into which many universities had already entered. On 19th March this year he made announcements about building programmes for universities. Then, in May, he announced that there would be an increase of £16 million in recurrent grant over the remaining four years of the quinquennium, which, it was hoped, would meet the increase in costs which were recognised to have arisen since the estimates were first prepared in 1961.

I beg hon. Members not to accept these figures with any complacency whatsoever, and I would call in aid someone of considerable knowledge and responsibility. I speak of the Principal of the University of London, Sir Douglas Logan, who, in his annual report, very recently published, said that the building allocation for 1964–65, £33½ million, as announced by the Chief Secretary, "was a great disappointment". He explains that, owing to increases in costs, if the universities were to be allowed even to continue the rate of expansion which had been agreed, they should have had a minimum of £36 million allowed them, and he goes on to state the particular difficulties in which London University would be placed if this were not forthcoming.

As for the increase in recurrent grants, welcome as it is, I think that hon. Members should know the state in which the universities found themselves before this slight alleviation was announced. They were literally running into debt because the Government had not adequately taken into account the increases in costs of various kinds. Sir Douglas said that in those circumstances resort had to be had to all the devices with which the financially embarrassed are only too familiar. Vacant posts are being left unfilled, stocks are being run down, maintenance work and repairs are being postponed and, in some cases, even newly erected buildings are not being brought fully into use. What a way to start on a quinquennium in which universities are supposed to increase their student numbers from 111,000 to 150,000. I therefore repeat that there is no room whatsoever for complacency. The universities were asked to expand—some of us think not fast enough—and to prepare their programmes. Owing to the stop-start nature of financial policies under the Tory Government, they have had all the anxiety and wear and tear of trying to adjust and readjust themselves according to the whims of the Treasury at the time.

I would point out the people who have to do these jobs are running universities, and ought not to have to endure the worry, stress and strain and the waste of time in organising committees, deputations, and pressure groups. Their work is far too serious for that. It is a very serious thing that our universities should be made the playthings of the Treasury in this way. I shall be saying later that I hope that the Treasury will be removed from direct control over university finance, but, whatever intermediary one may have, this attitude towards higher education is what really perturbs and distresses me.

I have said that the Government have set a particular target for university expansion, and this, of course, is a matter on which there is considerable disagreement between the two sides of the House. In the Taylor Report we hesitated to give precise figures because in the time at our disposal it was not easy for us to make the sort of calculations which may be necessary. However, my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) has had a little longer, and has had the benefit of being able to take further advice on this matter. In his very exhilarating and stimulating speech on Monday he indicated the degree of expansion which we in the Labour Party believe is both possible and desirable.

My hon. Friend has put it in the most challenging form, that from 1965 to 1975 we should be able to double the number of places—to double them in the decade. This, of course, is a very challenging aim, but we have every reason to think, having studied this matter carefully, that this degree of expansion could be achieved.

It means, in average figures, a 7 per cent. increase per annum; not all of it, of course, going to one subject and another equally; there would be a larger increase, we would assume, in science and technology and a somewhat smaller one in the arts side; but overall, 7 per cent. per annum. The actual increase between 1955 and 1960 was 4.6 per cent. per annum. In 1962–66, if the target is reached in 1966, it will be 6.2 per cent. per annum; but then the Government's target following that implies a rate of only 2 per cent. per annum, and this, we think, it utterly defeatist. We believe that if proper steps are taken there is no reason whatever why this country should not achieve and sustain a very much larger increase.

The United States of America and the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics, starting from very much wider bases in numbers, are working to a rate of increase of between 5 per cent. and 6 per cent. per annum. Because our numbers are smaller, our base is narrower, we believe ours should be round about 7 per cent. in the United Kingdom.

I was much interested to read that in France their Equipment Commission, which is in charge of planning in this sphere, says, with usual French logic, that the doubling of the number of pupils in the classical, modern and technical lycées between 1956 and 1963 ought to be followed by doubling the student places at establishments of higher education between 1963 and 1969. They regard it as perfectly logical, if one is double, to double the other.

It therefore does appear to me that we ought to set our sights higher than the Government apparently are preparedto do. We owe this to present and succeeding generations, and it is extremely depressing to find that even with the Government's modest target—not inconsiderable, but relatively modest in relation to our needs—we have not been keeping up.

The Committee of Vice-Chancellors, earlier this year, noted that British universities failed to maintain their rate of expansion during 1962, the black year to which I have already referred. The number of students admitted to full-time, first-degree coursesin October, 1962, showed an increase of only 3.3 per cent. over the previous year, and, clearly, that rate of progress is just not good enough. Professor Sir William Mansfield Cooper, Chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors, has put his comment on record: what I really regret about this is that if we had the university places now we could be training people for the real university expansion which is to come. We are losing an opportunity when we let the bulge go by like this. We know from the clearing house that last October about 50,000 students applied for 27,000 university places. We do not know as yet how many of those 50,000 were fully qualified, but in any case a gap of that magnitude is something with which nobody, it seems to me, couldpossibly be satisfied. One of the things which I find incomprehensible is that we had to wait so long before we had a clearing house and before we had any kind of reliable figures of university entrants. Even now the clearing house does not include all universities, Oxbridge keeps apart, and it does not include colleges of advanced technology or other establishments offering degree courses, which, again, makes the whole thing much less effective than it should be and much less informative than it should be for those who wish to know the true position in our university expansion programme.

Having put forward what I believe is a realistic target, which is, in our view in the Labour Party, the least at which we in the United Kingdom should be aiming, I should like to say a little about the form expansion might well take. It is not a matter only of the total number of students but of the establishments to which they will be going for study. We do not wish in any way to be dogmatic about this, because we think that there should be considerable variety in universities and in other establishments of higher education, but we would say that there is a strong case to be made out for larger rather than smaller establishments.

At present, apart from London, which is a conglomeration of university establishments of different kinds and sizes, we have Oxford and Cambridge with, roughly, 9,000 places each; Manchester, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Leeds at about the 6,000 mark; five others with between 3,000 and 5,000; and then we have 20 universities below 3,000. This seems to us a thoroughly uneconomic use of resources.

I should like to quote a very interesting comment, from two members of the staff of the London School of Economics, which appeared recently in New Society, stressing the advantages of the larger establishments. This is how they put it: One of the major disadvantages of the small university is that the small…department both forces the teacher to spread his teaching effort over a wide range of subjects and fails to provide him with the stimulus of a large number of colleagues in his own and neighbouring fields. The optimum size of a department from the staff point of view is nearer to 25 than it is to two or three. The student also benefits by being a member of a large department…and by being exposed to a wide range of teachers and a wide variety of options inside his main subject. I do not want to elaborate this point, but simply to say that there appears to us to be a fairly strong case for enlarging the existing universities as well as establishing certain new ones.

We ought also to be considering what type of university there should be. There has been a great deal of discussion in academic circles about whether we want more cathedral universities, another Balliol by the sea, and so on, and what it is that we really want for the 1970s. It seems to me that there is a place for that kind of university but that we should also more seriously consider the large-scale urban university where a fairly large proportion of the students live in their own homes. These can be only in the larger conurbations, but we should be planning for a large university north of London and another large university south of London to which students would be able to travel. A project of this kind is not only interesting in itself academically, but is essential if we are to provide sufficient places for the students concerned.

Every kind of discussion is taking place in university circles about the physical expansion. A great deal of money is going to building, and, here again, we are rather worried lest people fail to realise that flexibility has a great deal to commend it. I quote a sentence from Noel Annan's most inspiring article on universities in a recent Encounter, in which he said: We plan for eternity even though by now we ought to know that buildings with flexible arrangements that create a minimum of vested interests should be our transient goal. It seems to me that this should be most carefully considered by those who are responsible for handing out enormous sums of public money for new university buildings.

What we also lack at the moment is adequate research into the use of buildings. A great deal of emotive discussion is going on about this. Some places know that their buildings are being over-used and others are being accused of having buildings which are under-used—of laboratories used only twice a week and lecture rooms used only 30 weeks in a year.

It seems to me time that we moved out of the realm of prejudice and conjecture and had some serious study into the use of our buildings, plant and equipment in the universities and other establishments of higher education. Although we do not wish to equate university education with industry, there is some- thing to be said for looking at organisation and methods, throughput and the like, in respect of the sheer physical use of buildings and plant.

More important still, shall we be able to provide sufficient staff for this scale of university expansion? This raises a point which I find difficult to understand, and something deeply depressing in the attitude of the present Government. If we are in earnest about university expansion, even on the scale which the Government propose, and still more on the scale which we should support, steps to secure a new generation of university teachers ought to have been taken several years ago. By now it is almost too late for 1966–67.

The Association of University Teachers has recently circulated hon. Members with its calculation that 10,000 more university teachers are needed in the next four years. That is double the number which has been recruited in the last four years. As expansion snowballs, more and more will be needed. It takes time to educate and train someone of the standard of a university teacher. He has to do post-graduate work. He has to be trained, first, in research. Then he has to do a proper research project. It seems to me that we are woefully lacking in the sort of provision which is needed.

I expect that hon. Members saw a reference to this in an interesting article in The Times recently which was particularly concerned with those in the arts and social science subjects. It reads: At the moment many people with good qualifications, especially in the social sciences and the arts, have difficulty in obtaining any grant at all to support themselves while doing research. And those who do get grants are obliged to give at a standard far lower than they could obtain by going straight into a job outside the universities. The lack of incentives for post-graduate study thus constitutes a serious bottleneck in the supply of potential teachers. This has certainly been the position in the past, and I cannot understand why action has been so long delayed. The grants themselves have been somewhat increased. D.S.I.R., the Medical Research Council and the Agricultural Research Council make grants on their side and the Ministry of Education makes grants in arts subjects. They have increased the amount per student and one gets £450 a year if one is away from home. In certain very restricted circumstances one can obtain a grant for wife and child. But in order to do that one must be over 25 years of age or must have married during a period of not less than 12 months in which one was self-supporting.

In those circumstances one is graciously permitted not only to be married, but also to have some money with which to support one's wife and children. That is ridiculous. It is time that the Government recognised, with the lower age of marriage, that if we do not provide for the changing social conditions we shall not attract people into the profession. This kind of restriction on post-graduate students, whatever we may say about undergraduate students, is quite absurd in this day and age.

Why should one enter the fairly long road of academic research, with the intention of becoming a university teacher, when one might do just as well for oneself simply by walking straight out of the university without having to bother about all these circumstances under which one may be graciously permitted to marry? No one can go direct from undergraduate to post-graduate work and get a grant for wife or child. He must wait until he is 25 or work for twelve months somewhere else.

The number of art studentships is much lower than those in science. Only 323 were awarded in 1962 compared with 1,600 for D.S.I.R. and 100 for the other two research councils. The time must surely come when, in addition to the three research councils already in existence, we should establish a research council for the social science and one for education. These councils are responsible not only for making awards to individual post-graduate workers, or fellowships at the higher level, but have responsibility for considering at which point research is to be encouraged and sponsored. It seems to me that by now we ought to make sure that social science and education itself are properly served.

We have heard a good deal about the brain drain across the Atlantic among scientists and our dependence upon American beneficence for research work in science and technology. But I can assure hon. Members that this is equally true in other fields. A friend of mine said that he would have to go across the Atlantic to get some money to sup- port his researches in sociology. I think that it is time that this was taken much more seriously.

Having got the post-graduate at work, one has also to consider his career prospects. There are other reasons why we might have difficulty in obtaining adequate university staff, apart from the level of salaries. Although I could say a good deal about salaries I do not propose to say much today, for, as I have said on previous occasions, I do not think that the House of Commons is the place to discuss detailed salary arrangements. I believe that we ought to be looking at the career prospects for universities. There is a strong feeling that there are too few senior posts in relation to junior posts—in other words, that one's chances of promotion are not as good as they ought to be.

The other is that the general conditions in which, at any rate, junior university staff have to work, and the facilities provided for them, not only in science, but in other subjects, are such that there is no encouragement to an intelligent young man or woman to go into this career. Perhaps I might quote a few sentences from a leter from a member of the staff at one of the medium-sized provincial universities. The writer says: …we have doubled our numbers in the past five years Our buildings were started years too late; until the last couple of years the Library was hopelessly inadequate and its annual grant pitiful; there is no such thing as sabbatical leave; aids for research, of all kinds, have been almost wholly absent; the most elementary administrative help such as access to a typing pool, is still denied to most of the academic staff below the level of professor. He goes on to say that another thing which is worrying the medium and smaller sized universities is that if there should be university expansion of the kind we are contemplating, the higher quality research work will more and more be concentrated in Oxbridge and London and they will be left out in the cold.

I return now to the kind of ancillary help which I think is essential if we are to make the best of the trained people that we have, or that we are hoping to recruit. Since the Taylor Report was published I have been to a number of universities in this country and have had an opportunity of discussing it with the members of the staff. I must, in fairness, say that the position varies considerably from one establishment to another. Here again, if the University Grants Committee was doing its stuff, why do we not have adequate consideration of this whole question of ancillary aids? This applies to technicians in laboratories, but it also applies on the arts side to the simplest kind of secretarial and typing help.

The position varies enormously. In some places it is not too bad, while in others there is one secretary for a department of 20, and normally the head of the department, and possibly the deputy, consider that they have prior claim, and the junior staff, if they are very lucky, may get one letter typed per fortnight. This situation is ridiculous. Scarce staff should be supported by the sort of ancillary help which any reasonable businessman would give. I am aware that Members of Parliament are similarly treated, but that is by the way.

Another matter which I found varies considerably, but which has a considerable psychological effect on the younger staff in universities, is the fact that in many universities, though not all, they have no voice whatever in the university government or even in the ordering of the affairs of their own departments. Some possibly carry democracy to extremes and are overburdened with Committee work and consultation, but this is exceptional. This whole question of ancillary help and of making conditions tolerable for staff is something which has to be looked at seriously, otherwise the urge to go to other countries which treat their university staffs better will undoubtedly increase.

I have been speaking mostly of universities, but higher education embraces a variety of other establishments, about some of which my hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) will be speaking later. First and foremost, there are the colleges of advanced technology. Everyone is assuming, I trust rightly, that the Robbins Committee will recommend that these establishments should have university status. I find that there is considerable anxiety in many of them that this should be expedited as quickly as possible, because they feel strongly about their standing and independence. It may be that it is only a matter of a name, but it is curious how potent a name can be. When Battersea wanted to go to a site in Guildford, it was told by the local authority that if it became a university it would be welcomed, but if it remained a college of technology it would not. Such is our social stratification in this country.

In addition, colleges of advanced technology at the moment suffer from a serious disability, in that they do not have the same freedom of deciding their own courses, as universities do. I have been told of examples where they have had to have internal diplomas because of the difficulty of getting consent in a reasonable time for a new course.

Those that have come under the Ministry from local authorities tell me that the London County Council had a triennial budget and they could do some planning, but under the Ministry, they say, it is not planning; it is a gamble. I have a letter which says: This year we were told what our grants would be two weeks after the start of the financial year. I shall not labour these points, but there is considerable feeling among the colleges of advanced technology that the sooner they are allowed to be independent, fully-fledged universities, the better they will be pleased.

The teacher training colleges are also full of ideas as to what their future ought to be, but I do not propose to go into the whole question of teacher supply because we have discussed this on other occasions. I think it is a most interesting development that teacher training colleges and departments of education are working very hard indeed to evolve a degree course which will be suitable for them. Frankly, I think that it will be a great challenge to take on a degree course when we have just gone into three-year training courses, but it is a challenge that we shall have to meet, possibly by sandwich courses, which seems the sensible way of doing it.

I am anxious that this should be accepted, because, to refer again to the Taylor Report, one of our strongest arguments is that these establishments of higher education should not be differentiated from one another in the way that they have been in the past. As concerns their students we think that wherever it is physically convenient their residential, social and sports facilities should be in common, although they may study at different establishments. In the organisation of higher education they should all be brought under one university umbrella.

If one considers Brighton, there one had an opportunity of doing something great if only someone had thought about this in imaginative terms ten years ago. There is the University of Sussex. Down the road there is a new building for a college of technology. The teacher training college is to move to a new building not far away. There is a well-established school of art. There was a marvellous opportunity of setting up a cité universitaire which, unfortunately, we missed.

At Coventry, there is the Lanchester College of Technology. There is an excellent teacher training college, in an inadequate building, and now there is the University of Warwick, which is to be stuck out in the country. There was a wonderful opportunity for a university complex in Coventry, but, unfortunately, we did not take advantage of it.

I hope very much that this segregation of establishments of higher education will rapidly be brought to an end. It seems to us to make little sense. As the Minister of Education will be aware, there are other establishments for special training. There are colleges of art, about which many Members have had correspondence and interviews and received deputations.

I do not propose to go over this ground in detail, but I must use this opportunity for saying how disappointed I have felt with what seemed to me the feeble administration of the Ministry of Educationin this matter. The Minister has written to me saying that there was no lack of forethought. All I can say is that if forethought brought about the present conditions, what would it have been like without it? I cannot conceive how anyone could have allowed 3,000 or more students to take preliminary courses before knowing how many places there would be for the diploma to which this was a preliminary course, where the courses were to be, and in what subjects, with the result that more than 50 per cent. of the students who started out hopefully are bound to be disappointed, and many of them will have to change their colleges to pursue other courses.

I hope that, at the very least, the Minister will say that he intends to ask the local authorities, where students' grants are involved, to take a very sympathetic line towards any student who may have to change as a result of the confusion of the interim period.

I make one other point about the colleges of art. While one supports the higher standard envisaged for the diploma in art and design, which will be very desirable for those who are to become teachers, I hope that it will not be forgotten that in art colleges one wants artists as well as teachers and that, if one tries to tidy everything up too much, one is likely to lose the artists even though one may train several hundred teachers.

I turn now to the general organisation of our university and higher education. We in the Labour Party believe that the whole of higher education in the sense in which we are discussing it today ought to be under one aegis. We had a little discussion on Monday about whose aegis it should come under at Ministerial level. We have suggested that, below Ministerial level, there should be something following the general principle of the University Grants Committee but changed it form. We consider that there should be a National University Development Council, which should be responsible for the strategy of higher education. If we had had this ten years ago, we might have made far greater and much sounder progress in many directions. The time is long overdue for the establishment of a body of this kind.

It is clear that the burden of surveying the whole field of higher education, with the additions we have suggested, bringing in the colleges of advanced technology, the teacher training colleges, the various special colleges, adult education in the residential colleges, and so on, is immense. Even in its present restricted form related to the universities alone, it is far too great a burden for the U.G.C. as at present constituted. The gentlemen who work on it are most distinguished people in their fields, but they are really amateur oligarchs when it comes to the national planning of education. There is also the Committee of Vice-Chancellors, the mandarins, and everything goes on behind closed doors. The time has come for a National University Development Council which should prepare, as my hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East said on Monday, a 10-year plan, to be published and revised annually. We consider, too, that the sacred quinquennium requires consideration; it is too long for some purposes and too short for others.

Below this national body, there should be university grants commissions, one for Scotland, one for Wales, and probably about half a dozen for England. We considered whether this should be done on a functional basis, taking the universities, the technical colleges, the teacher training colleges separately, each group having its own commission, but we felt that it would be far healthier and would not continue the division which we deplore if they were territorially based. We believe that only in some such way shall we have, in the late 1960s, the 1970s and the 1980s, the kind of higher education which we deserve.

In a most interesting and admirable speech just delivered to the Commonwealth Universities Conference in London, Sir Eric Ashby said that higher education could be looked upon from three points of view. We could regard it as a national investment. We couldregard it as a prestige or status symbol. We could regard it as a civil right. We in the Labour Party would regard it as both a national investment and a civic right. But Sir Eric Ashby pointed out that, no matter by what criterion we are judged, we are well behind other countries of the Commonwealth in the amplitude of our provision. A child in Toronto, he said, has one chance in six of going to a university, a child in Australia has one chance in nine, and a child in London has one chance in 20.

We can have endless discussion about admissions policy. A powerful committee has been set up to consider the 18-plus, the membership list of which reads like the educational "Debrett". Indeed, it seems that it is now a gambit in educational lifemanship to ask, "Do you belong to the committee on the 18-plus?"

But no amount of discussion on examination procedures, selection procedures, and so forth, will by itself pro- vide one single extra place. University freedom to seek the truth and to publish and teach it must at all times be defended. But the universities are part of a changing society, in a changing Britain, in a changing world. This, they must and, I am sure, will recognise. We believe that they have been inadequately sustained by the present Government. The Labour Party would encourage them to give of their best to future generations.

4.46 p.m.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Paymaster-General (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter)

The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) began her very agreeable speech with an observation with which I wholly agree. She said that there is a certain appropriateness that the House should be discussing this subject at the very time when the Congress of the Association of Commonwealth Universities is meeting in London. I qualify my agreement with that sentiment only on the purely personal ground that the fact that we are having this debate which requires my attendance on the House tonight will prevent me from attending one of the many functions in connection with that congress. Subject to that purely personal difficulty, I agree that this is a very appropriate occasion, and I fully endorse what the hon. Lady said about the good wishes which all of us in the House extend to the very distinguished academic figures from all over the world who are conferring in London at this time. Notwithstanding the sacrifices imposed upon me today, I have had the opportunity of meeting a great many of them, and it has been a truly impressive experience.

I think that I can best serve the House in this debate by confining my contribution substantially to the subject of the universities, in respect of which I have certain responsibilities, leaving such matters as relate to other parts of our education system to my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education, who will seek to catch Mr. Speaker's eye towards the close of the debate. I add, for completeness, that my noble Friend the Under-secretary of State for Scotland is here in case any specifically Scottish points are raised. The House will have noted, also, that the Parliamentary Secretary for Science is in attendance in case matters of scientific importance are raised.

I begin by taking up one of the comments of the hon. Lady about Governmental support for the universities. Although it is widely known in the House, it is not very widely understood outside, I think, that the universities in England and Scotland are served by the University Grants Committee, which works with a Treasury Minister, and that we work a system in this respect wholly distinct from that which applies throughout the rest of education. As a matter of history, the system has undoubtedly been developed over the years because of the strongly-felt desire to maintain in full degree the independence of our universites from even the possibility of political interference. It has been carried to such an extent that despite the now large sums of money involved, the universities' accounts do not go before the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Whether, with the massive growth of the cost of the universities to public funds and the growing appreciation of the importance of their work in the national interest, a system on those lines can be indefinitely continued is an open question and one on which most thoughtful people would prefer to await the findings of the Robbins Committee. I should, however, be doing less than my duty if I did not express, on my own behalf and, I am sure, on behalf of my predecessors and the House generally, our immense admiration of the work which the University Grants Committee has done and, in particular, to its chairman, Sir Keith Murray, who will shortly conclude his 10-year term of office in that key post. Speaking for myself and, I know, for my predecessor, Sir Keith's advice, wise counsel and deep knowledge of our universities has served the country very well indeed.

As to the Robbins Committee, as the hon. Lady rightly said the House is anxiously awaiting its report and would like to hear from me the present position concerning it. The Committee, as the House knows—and indeed, without knowing it, those of us who know Lord Robbins would be quite certain—has given the whole subject an intense, exhaustive and comprehensive examination. The Committee has seen over 100 witnesses, whom it has heard orally, and has already had over 100 meetings and dealt with 400 memoranda submitted to it. The Committee's members have visited six countries, including both the United States and the U.S.S.R. Its report is now well advanced and, I understand, if no unforeseen difficulties arise, is likely to be signed sometime in September. There will then be a considerable printing job, because it is the Committee's wish that the report when published shall be accompanied by a considerable bulk at least of supporting memoranda. It is, therefore, unlikely that we shall be able to effect publication until the last days of October.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

Would the right hon. Gentleman care to confirm or deny the persistent rumours that there is a minority report?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

As the Committee has not either signed its report or concluded its deliberations, it would be extraordinarily foolish of me to speculate whether, in the event, there will or will not be a minority report. The hon. Gentleman will, I am sure, realise on reflection that when we have entrusted a task of this importance to a Committee, then until it has reported the less we seek to inquire into its proceedings, the better the result will be.

When we have the report and it is published, the House and the Government will have to take decisions of great gravity and certainly of enormous importance to our whole university system. Pending receipt of it, I am sure that all of us, and particularly those who bear direct responsibility, are wise to keep an open mind on a great many of the issues which will certainly then arise.

The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East said during her speech that I would seek to blind the House with a host of favourable statistics. As the hon. Lady was speaking, I thought that she would have been a little happier in her speech if she had had the opportunity to make it a year or so ago. As she knows, and as everybody in the universities knows well, there has been, and is continuing, a very considerable effort and a very considerable expansion.

Therefore, we must approach this debate not on the basis of the somewhat extremely critical line taken in the pamphlet written by the hon. Lady's noble Friend Lord Taylor, but rather on the basis that we are engaged in the biggest expansion in our universities in our national history and that the only issue which arises is not whether we should expand substantially, but as to the precise degree and speed of expansion which is right and sensible to undertake in view of all the factors involved. That is the issue.

We cannot discuss this matter without realising—our discussion would be unrelated to the facts—that an enormous expansion is taking place; and that in itself inevitably dictates the lines on which further developments can follow. We are starting, I think for the first time in any century, seven new universities, the decision to start which has been announced since 1957. One of them, the University of Sussex, already has 425 students. I understand that both Norwich and York will be taking students in the autumn, and work on the other four is going ahead.

On top of that, as I had the pleasure of announcing to the House on 31st May, the Royal College of Science and Technology in Glasgow is being accepted for university status. I understand that an application to Her Majesty in Council for the grant of a charter is going forward and there is every reason to hope that that great institution will be functioning as a university when it comes back in the autumn.

Then there is the expansion in student numbers which has been taking place. The figure was 87,000 in 1951–52. The figure at the beginning of autumn last year, at the beginning of the academic year which is just finishing, had risen to 116,646 and as thehon. Lady has reminded us, and as the University Grants Committee has indicated is achievable on present provisions, we are going for a figure of 150,000 in 1966–67.

One figure which arises from that is a little striking. In the present quinquennium, the planned expansion in student numbers is at the substantial rate overall of 33⅓ per cent. Perhaps even more striking is the expansion in financial terms. In 1951–52, when the present Administration took office the total of public expenditure central and local on the universities in all directions was £36.7 million. The expenditure in the current year is at the rate of £146 million.

It would be equally wrong not to underrate the extent to which the process of expansion has been helped and will be accelerated by some of the action we have recently taken. The House will recall, for example, that when my predecessor announced in April, 1962, the grants for the current quinquennium, he said that they could be reviewed within two years. As the House knows, that review has already taken place and an increase for the four remaining years of the quinquennium comes into operation from the beginning of next month, providing in all over the quinquennium an extra £16.1 million. There has been a £5 million increase in the capital grants, bringing the figure to £30 million for the current year, and increases bringing the figures for the next two years to £33½ million.

I do not—picking up another word used by the hon. Lady—bring out these facts with any measure of complacency. Experience over the last year of this enormously important problem can, I hope, prevent me at any rate from falling into that. But I am equally sure that, if one takes a balanced view of what is being done and of what is to be done in future, it really is necessary to have a fairer and more objective view than one sometimes gets in pamphlets and observations from the benches opposite.

One can also see the physical results of what has been happening in financial terms over recent years. One of these results has considerable personal appeal to me. About 10 years ago, it fell to me as Financial Secretary to announce the decision to build a great technology centre at Imperial College. Two or three weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting what is already an institution of international fame and standing, with 3,000 students, rising to 3,700 in the plans up to 1966–67. What is of enormous significance and interest is that no less than 40 per cent. of the students are doing post-graduate work.

It is work of the utmost interest and its importance is apparent even to the layman. For instance, there is the work in the extremely interesting field of research which lies between electrical engineering and medicine. There is, too, the work on those aspects of engineering which deal with soil mechanics, which has already resulted in Imperial College being able to give helpful advice on the construction of dams in Asia. A whole variety of things is going on there.

Then there is the new construction going on at universities all over the country. In a very interesting speech—I read it but I did not have the pleasure of hearing it—on Monday, the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) said something about scientists believing in the future when they see laboratories being built. In that context, they must be encouraged by some of the things that have been done or are being done. Let us take some examples of work completed recently or due to be completed shortly.

There are stages 1 and 2 of the chemistry buildings at Bristol, costing over £500,000, the chemistry building at Reading, costing over £300,000, stage 3 of the engineering building at Leeds costing over £400,000 and the natural philosophy building, which I saw earlier this year, at Aberdeen, costing £675,000. There are plenty of other examples. Do not let us underrate what has been done.

But I am not seeking to duck the perfectly fair question which the hon. Lady put. Is this big expansion which, in all fairness, we must admit has already been undertaken and planned, enough? Related factors are very important. First, there is the immense but temporary imminent expansion in the size of the revelant age group. Secondly, there is what I hope will be the permanent tendency to stay on longer at school, resulting in larger sixth forms.

The size of the relevant age group indicates some measure of the problem. The size of that age group this year is 713,000. In 1966–67, this will go up by more than 200,000 to 921,000. Then it drops to 822,000 in the following year and comes down to 731,000—not very much above the present figure—in 1971–72. Then, as far as one can foresee, there will be a slight upward curve again but nothing comparable with what one can call the explosion of the figure in the 1966–67 group.

The effect of what we have done so far is often judged—I am not sure how good atest it is, but it is a test—by the percentage of the relevant age group who find university places. Let us trace the development. In 1951–52 the percentage of the then relevant age group who could find places was 3.59 per cent. In fairness, I must add that other higher education establishments outside the universities provided 2.9 per cent. There was thus a total of 6.49 per cent. in higher education in that year. In the current year, when we are dealing with an age group 90,000 higher, the figure is 4.6 per cent. for university places and 5.24 per cent. for other higher education, a total of 9.84 per cent.

Turning to the problem year of 1966–67—infinitely the most difficult year that can be foreseen—on present plans the percentage who will get university places will be very close to the present figure—4.56 as against 4.6, which is only .04 less. In the rest of higher education, the percentage will actually be higher—5.55 as against 5.24. Thus, in the total of higher education even in that year, 10.11 per cent. of the relevant age group will find higher education places as against 9.84 per cent. in the current year.

If one goes beyond that, the position improves as a result of the combined effect of the continued increase in the provision of places and the steep fall in the size of the relevant age group which follows 1966–67.

Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)

Has the right hon. Gentleman the respective figures for men and women?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

Not to hand. If they are available, and if he has time, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education may be able to give them tonight. The figures I am giving include both men and women.

There is the related question of what standard we should follow. It is often suggested that two A-levels should be sufficient. But I believe that that is an over simplification. Some holders of that qualification may not want to continue to university, preferring other forms of further education or to go into employment. Some may not be suited to university education and, of course, the G.C.E. examination itself is not immutable.

Another comparison often made is with other countries. Here we are not comparing like with like. I assure the House that I do not propose to indulge in any reflections on any other country's system. Were I to do so, and if any question of an honorary degree ever arose, some ass would no doubt seek to interfere to prevent it, so I will do nothing of the sort.

What is important is that our system is different and has developed in a different way. First, we have the highest ratio of staff to students of any university system in the world. Our teacher-student ratio is 1–7½ compared with 1–10.3 before the war and with present ratios of 1–13 in the United States, 1–12 in the Soviet Union and 1–30 in France. We are also the only country, at any rate in the free world, to have a general system of subsistence grants to university students. I cannot include in this analysis the Iron Curtain countries because that involves an analysis of their economic system which would be infinitely tedious to the House and would doubtless not be in order in this debate. In the free world we are unique in having a very wide general provision not only of university education itself, but of subsistence allowances for students. There is little doubt that our system provides for the ablest students in a manner and on a scale which is exceedingly impressive by world standards.

The hon. Lady referred to the most interesting speech which Sir Eric Ashby made at the opening session of the Congress of the Association of Commonwealth Universities—a speech to which I had the pleasure of listening. Sir Eric dealt with this very issue. He referred—and the hon. Lady quoted him—to the fact that in certain other countries a young man or girl had a greater chance of a university place than was the case here. But Sir Eric also pointed out that our system—"élite-ism" he called it—worked in a different way by concentrating high resources of staff, equipment and grants upon a more limited number of students.

I am not seeking to argue the relative merits of the two approaches. I am anxious only to bring out the facts upon which decisions may have to be taken. Our system provides university education, as distinct from other forms of higher education, to a smaller proportion of our younger people than in some other countries. On the other hand, for the ablest students, at any rate, it provides it on a scale of staff, and so on, which gives to them the greatest help and which has the consequence that our wastage rate is very lowcompared with that of other countries.

Mr. William Hannan (Glasgow, Maryhill)

Is the right hon. Gentleman arguing that standards should be raised, and that in this country only the ablest young students should be entering universities? Will he bear in mind the fact that in Scotland the tradition is that even those who are marginally qualified always find a place in universities? Is he arguing that this tradition should be altered?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

At the moment I am not arguing either in defence or in attack of that system. I am anxious to establish the facts of the matter, upon which, in the light of the Robbins Report and other factors, we shall have to make up our minds. I share the hon. Member's admiration for the educational system in Scotland. I was seeking simply to establish—and I hope that this is the way, at this stage, that I can best help the House—what the facts of the matter were.

By way of illustration, let us take the example of France, which operates the other system—a system of a somewhat larger proportion of people coming to the universities but a very different and very much lower staff ratio, a system which is altogether different from ours. There is an interesting comparison. Taking not strictly universities alone but the relevant age group entering full-time courses equivalent to British degree levels, the figures for 1958–59, which are the latest available, are 7 per cent. for France against our 6.8 per cent. of people entering, and 3.3per cent. for France against our 5.2 per cent. for people qualifying with a degree. In other words the wastage, under the French system of somewhat larger admissions, was very much larger than ours.

I assure the hon. Member that I am not arguing for one system or the other. It is a very difficult balance. We have to put on the one hand the desire we all have to give opportunities to all who can use them. On the other hand, a system which involves a large wastage inevitably carries with it a good deal of personal frustration among those who fail to complete a course. That illustrates how difficult these international comparsions are.

The approach of much of our thinking on this matter must be affected by what Lord Robbins and his Committee say. The Government and the universities may have to judge whether the rapid rate of expansion which is going on at present can or ought to increase still further when we have the Robbins Report. If that happens, great problems in respect of resources both human and material will have to be solved, for the existing programme leaves little scope for further effort on educational lines and at accustomed standards. Indeed, a good deal of what the hon. Lady herself said as to possible approaches shows that her thinking on this matter is not wholly out of line with ours.

She said a good deal about university staffs. I do not want to go over again the ground which the House traversed during the interesting debate on science on Monday. Naturally, we regret the loss of able university teachers and scientists, but we should not take too narrow a view about this matter. We must remember that there is at the same time a considerable inward flow to our universities of very able people from Europe—several famous economists whose names will immediately leap to the mind of the House in general and hon. Members opposite in particular. We have been gainers as well as losers from the flow of university teachers between different countries.

I do not agree with the hon. Lady that we will not have the staff for our expansion. Staff numbers are rising. At the beginning of last autumn—the beginning of the academic year just ending—the number of full-time staff was 13,824, an increase of 7 per cent. on the previous year, against an increase in student numbers of 4.7 per cent. There is therefore no justification for what the hon. Lady has said about the failure, so far, to continue successful recruiting of staff.

Since then there has been the 10 per cent. overall increase in the university salary bill which was announced to the House earlier this year, which operated on 1st April. That is being followed by the reference to the National Incomes Commission of the question, what is the appropriate level for university salaries? I made it clear in a debate last year that one of the functions of the Commission is precisely to seek to evaluate and consider rather unusual problems such as this.

Mrs. White

If the right hon. Gentleman is now telling us that we are not short of staff at universities, is he saying that it is because we are short of buildings that we cannot take all the qualified students?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am not saying that there are no limitations of staff, buildings and money. All these, in their different ways, operate. What I was venturing to differ from the hon. Lady about was tier statement that we would not be able to get the staff for the expansion, and that we were running into real difficulties in this respect. That is not so.

Sometimes we lose some very able people, although I am inclined to think—although I am perhaps judging the matter from a limited number of cases within my personal knowledge—that it has been the lure and attraction of the immense research facilities which the United States provides, on a scale that is plainly beyond our resources, that attracts some of these people, rather than the salary scales, particularly when allowance is made for the different cost of living in the United States. I hope and believe that the improvements in our own facilities—although not on the United States scale—of which I gave some expression to the House in an earlier part of ray speech, will have a helpful effect in this direction.

I should like to follow the hon. Lady a little further in her general reflections, which she based, rightly and wisely, on that same speech of Sir Eric Ashby's from which both of us have quoted this afternoon. I found Sir Eric's approach very interesting, from a point of view which the hon. Lady did not tackle, namely, the philosophy which should underlie our policy in respect of the universities.

The hon. Lady mentioned the three approaches which he quoted—the economic approach, that trained minds, particularly in science, have a direct monetary and economic value to the community; the social service approach, that is, that it should be a right for those with certain qualifications to have advance education; and to what he called the consumer goods approach, that university education is a good thing which should be available with the other good things which an expanding economy can produce, I think that the truth is probably based on a mixture of all three. I think it is helpful not to try to apply any precise mathematical formula to our policy but to try to work in these three considerations with some measure of balance.

The other reflection I should like to stress—and here I must part company with the hon. Lady at this stage—is the importance which I attach to preserving the freedom, and the economic freedom, of our universities. That is not necessarily going to be very easy when the enormous national importance of certain studies is as well realised as it is today. I am quite sure that whatever form of administration we evolve for our universities, in the light of the Robbins Report we should be very careful to resist the temptation to allow any Minister or any Government to interfere in the academic arrangements and in the curriculum arrangements of our universities. That is an obvious temptation and it is one which we shall be very careful to guard against, and that is where, if the hon. Lady will allow me to say so, I rather fail to feel any enthusiasm for the particular administrative arrangements which she tentatively put forward.

Mrs. White

I think it is rather important for the right hon. Gentleman to make clear at what point he supposed I was suggesting a restriction on economic freedom. We have, after all, the University Grants Committee today. I was suggesting a different organisation of such a body. I felt that there should be a strategic body and that there should be devolution on a territorial basis. I do not think that the present one can carry out its functions adequately.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

The University Grants Committee is a body a large part of whose membership consists of distinguished academics. That is an important safeguard. I thought that I saw in the hon. Lady's speech, as I have noticed in some other observations of her right hon. Friend's a tendency to appear to wish to diminish the measures of academic freedom. There was the speech of her right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition about the entrants to Oxford and Cambridge. I think that the rights of colleges and universities to regulate their own entrants is a crucial part of their independence.

I should like to make my position clear. It is that I hope and believe that in any steps that we take to modernise our administrative apparatus in respect of universities, the preservation of their freedom and independence is a matter of major importance. One has only to look at one or two other countries to see what dangers flow from neglecting that.

Mr. Albu

Is it not a fact that the present Administration first broke the rules of the University Grants Committee with their proposal for the expansion of Imperial College and the other two colleges in the field of technology?

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

First, there are no rules broken, and, secondly, there is the duty of the Government on behalf of the taxpayer to regulate the supply of support by way of grants, and that is something that the Government cannot abdicate to anyone. So, with respect, I think that the hon. Gentleman has confused or telescoped two quite separate matters.

I only want to add one more general observation. The hon. Lady referred to the pamphlet by her noble Friend Lord Taylor. It bears a foreword by her right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition, but I think that Lord Taylor is responsible for the following observation: For eleven years Conservative Governments have been putting the brake on educational advance. What are the facts? Total public expenditure on all education—universities, grants and all—in the current year is at the rate of £1,250 million. That is about £100 million up on last year and compares favourably with £414 million in 1951–52. It looks as if the noble Lord is confusing the accelerator with the brake. As a great admirer of his, I hope that he does not do that when he drives his car.

It is also unfair to allege that we devote a smaller share of our national wealth to education than is done in many other countries. Let me take the U.N.E.S.C.O. figures for 1957–60. These are most important figures, because it is plain that our educational expenditure has risen more in respect of our national product since then. The U.N.E.S.C.O. figures show our figure as a percentage of gross national product to be 4.2 per cent. They show the United States to be 4.6 per cent. I would only comment that the United States does not devote anything like the same proportion of her national product to other social services, such as pensions and health service. Let us compare our figure of 4.2 per cent. with other countries. According to the U.N.E.S.C.O. figures. West Germany's percentage was 3.6 per cent., France 3 per cent. and that socially progressive country Sweden, 3.2 per cent. And I have no doubt that since then the figures have moved in our favour.

This debate comes, I think, at an appropriate time, even more appropriate than the happy coincidence of a great international gathering, because it comes at an immensely important time in the history of higher education in this country. We are not only spending more money on it than we have ever done before but there is also a much greater interest in the matter than ever before—what I think my hon. Friend described as an insatiable aptitude for education. As I have mentioned more than once, we shall very shortly have the Robbins Report—this autumn—and I cannot forecast—and it would be wrong if I could to do so, but I cannot—what it will contain. However, I am quite certain that such a Committee, after such labours as I have described, will produce proposals of major interest which all thoughtful people will want to look at fair-mindedly and open-mindedly. Indeed, it might well be the case that they will enable us to set a course of development for our universities for a generation or more.

Major decisions may well have to be made. I hope that the House will forgive me if I say this, for I feel it very strongly; it would be a great pity if these decisions, which are of national importance, have to be made in an atmosphere of a political dogfight. We have tried, and I say this for both parties, on the whole, to keep our universities and our university education as far as possible out of, at any rate, the sharper asperities of party political controversy, and I am sure that there has never been a time like the present when the need to approach these matters fairly and open-mindedly has been greater for all of us. The time may well come this autumn when we shall have perhaps a fleeting moment of opportunity for this generation to render a great service to our nation.

5.30 p.m.

Mr. Merlyn Rees (Leeds, South)

It is as well for me at this personal moment to realise that I can depend upon the traditional tolerance and indulgence of hon. Members on both sides of the House. For I am faced not only with the normal problems which confront a new Member, but with the additional one arising from the fact that I am here in place of one of the most distinguished and honoured former colleagues of hon. Members, the former Leader of my own party and a man whom the whole nation mourned just six months ago.

I learned during the recent by-election of the very high regard in which Hugh Gaitskell was held in South Leeds. I know only too well, at this moment, the very high regard in which he was held in this House. Comparisons are odious at the best of times, and, bearing in mind the comparison which many hon. Members must be making now and will be making in the next few minutes, I can only ask for even more of that tolerance and indulgence for which hon. Members are noted.

I am one of the Welshmen of the great dispersion of the 1920s and the 1930s, but although, as a consequence, I have spent the greater part of my life in an outer London suburb, to which I owe a great deal, my roots are firmly embedded in the mining valleys of South Wales where many of my family still live and where I was nurtured. Many of the values and virtues and general outlook on life which I have come to associate with my native Wales I have already recognised in that part of the West Riding which I represent in this House. The West Riding has long been noted for the independence of mind and of character of its people. In its fertile soil has long flourished every major development in the field of higher education.

In the City of Leeds there is not only a world-famous university. There are four teacher training colleges, a college of technology, a college of commerce and many forms of adult education. This fact has encouraged me to speak in this debate, and for the first time in this House.

I think that now there is general agreement on the need for an expansion of higher education. The arguments that remain are on amount and on the direction in which to go. This has not always been so, and I feel that the reason for the change is the very apparent need for higher education as a form of capital investment. This is a very powerful argument which I believe in strongly and to which I shall return in a moment.

I wish to point out, however, that there is an equally powerful argument for higher education, whether it is useful or not. The arts and the social sciences are equally important as the natural sciences and technology. I think that I am using both sides of the argument when I say that we shall not get the teachers we need in all parts of the education system unless we greatly increase the facilities for higher education. Based on my own practical experience, I can say that unless we can radically reduce the size of classes, a great deal of the very valuable educational reforms which will get on to the Statute Book will be vitiated.

One of the odd things about the teaching profession is that the further one gets away from the actual point of teaching, the higher becomes one's status and the higher is the salary. And yet, to me, the sole reason for the whole operation is to teach students. During the war I served in the Royal Air Force where the whole reason to be there at that time was to keep aeroplanes in the air. As a mark of this, pilots received flying pay. I am wondering whether there is a case for introducing "teaching pay" into the salary arrangements. I offer this suggestion to the Minister with some diffidence, although the diffidence is lessened because I am given to understand that now he has some concern with teachers' salary arrangements.

I said earlier that everyone is agreed on the need for expansion of higher education. I feel strongly about the problems that remain, but I will not go into them now. Perhaps, in the spirit of the occasion, I may ask a question of the right hon. Gentleman which is related to the needs of my constituency. In South Leeds there is a high school, one of the old municipal secondary schools set up under the Act of 1902. It has a powerful sixth form which will grow. There is also a comprehensive school which has a quickly generating sixth form which will grow very rapidly. There are secondary modern schools which run advanced courses and some have sixth-form classes as well. May the children in my constituency who are at school now, and who will be at school in the next decade, be assured that when the time comes for them to move into higher education there will be sufficient places for them?

This growth of sixth forms is, in my view, one measure of the reservoir of ability which exists in this country. Another measure of it is the great expansion of courses which is taking place in the field of technical education. I do not mean just the C.A.T.S but also in technical colleges. I am not concerned only with degree courses, diploma courses and courses leading to professional examinations but also with the very valuable management courses which are held up and down the country. It would, I think, be a great pity if the current concern with the need to set up a top-level Harvard-type business college should lead us to overlook the valuable work being done for middle and lower management which is being extended to include quite remarkable courses for developing shop stewards; because this, too, is management.

This reservoir is seen in adult education to which my constituents owe a great deal and to which, over the years, they have given much. For it was in my part of Leeds that the W.E.A. flowered early. There are far more people capable of advanced education. I am encouraged in this view by the success of the emergency training scheme for teachers which was set up after the war, and also the organisation of further education and training schemes which, as many hon. Members will remember, enabled ex-Service men to obtain a university education when otherwise they would not have been able to do so. The House may be interested to know that there are five hon. Members who attained a university education under this scheme. It so happens that all five that I know are on this side of the House. One of them is my hon. Friend the Member for East Ham, North (Mr. Prentice). There is also my hon. Friend the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Duffy). A third is myself.

This expansion of higher education will raise many problems both educational and administrative. I venture to suggest that it will also raise social problems. For we cannot put this increased number of young people through the forcing house of a mental discipline and expect them to emerge the same people. They change socially as well as academically.

During past debates on foreign affairs I have sat in another part of this House and heard hon. Members on both sides say that one of the great hopes for Soviet Russia was the fact that the Russians spend large sums on technical education, and that this would breed a new sort of middle class which would reject the old order. I shall not take that argument further; the analogy is by no means complete, but there is sufficient of it to cause concern to many of us, to whatever political party we may belong. They look at life completely differently and there can be no complacency on the part of anyone. It is a political challenge, and it is developing into a social challenge in general

The whole of this experiment in the expansion of higher education is a challenge. Our response to it will decide whether we are to remain one of the leading Powers in the world. Our response to it will also determine whether the people of this country in general and the people of the North in particular—I include among those my constituents—are going to enjoy a significantly higher material standard of life in the years to come.

I have little patience with the argument that there is something noble about poverty. I know too much about it in whatever degree to believe this. I believe passionately that there is a case for using science and technology to raise the standard of living of the people of this country. If, concurrently, we not only think of that, but think also of the arts and social sciences, we shall be taking a step towards making eventually a better country. The key to it all is an expansion of higher education.

5.40 p.m.

Mr. R. P. Hornby (Tonbridge)

I suppose that there is not a single hon. Member on either side of the House today who does not remember with awe the experience of making a maiden speech in this House. How much greater those feelings of awe must be for one who has followed a predecessor of the distinction of the late Hugh Gaitskell, a man for whose great brilliance, integrity and courage we all had tremendous admiration.

In taking the opportunity to congratulate the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) on the speech to which we have just listened, the compliment I should like to pay to him, and which, I hope, would give him and his constituents the greatest pleasure, would be to say how happy I believe his predecessor would be to know that he had chosen the occasion of this debate to make his maiden speech and how happy he would have been to have heard the manner in which the speech was delivered.

It also gives me great pleasure to follow and congratulate a representative of the City of Leeds, of which I have very happy memories if only because I once had the pleasure of playing football against Leeds United there. Listening to the hon. Member, I could not help feeling that he has combined the eloquence of Wales with the forthrightness of Yorkshire. As he happens to live in a suburb of London, that may enable him the more conveniently to give us the opportunity of listening to him often in future. I am sure that all present wish him well in the House.

I confess to finding this an ill-timed debate on an exceptionally important subject. I think that in the back of all our minds is the feeling that we are waiting for Robbins. Weare saying certain things in this debate rather to emphasise particular points which we have had in mind for some time and because we hope to find some of our favourite points emphasised and underlined when that report becomes available to us.

I agree very much about the need for a rapid expansion in higher education as an important national investment. The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) made an additional point that this is not just a matter of national investment, but one of personal ambition for a university place. She carried the argument to the point of saying that it is a civic right. Although perhaps sympathetic to that aim in future, I feel that we have to recognise that the civic right for everyone of ability to full-time education up to the age of, say, 21—which, according to the Taylor Report, would include a one-year residential stay in the university—would involve us in huge sums of expenditure and very major matters of priority of expenditure as between one field and another.

We should recognise that it is absolutely right also to emphasise just how much has already been done in this as in other fields of education, even though it is equally true that much more remains to be done. We are, after all, considering higher education, which is providing in universities, colleges of advanced technology and teacher training colleges, about 212,000 places at present. I suppose that we could add about half that number of people in part-time courses of higher education. We are dealing with very large numbers.

I confess to being so confused by international comparisons as to find them almost valueless. One can quote figures from Russia and the United States which seem to prove one side of the case, as well as figures to prove the contrary, but the standards of comparison are so vague and difficult to come by accurately that it would seem better to take as criteria the needs of Britain as one sees them and the needs for a wide variety of different types of higher education to cater for the many different claims which are made upon us. It is worth emphasising that the numbers graduating in this country seem to bear very favourable comparison with many competitors and friends on the Continent of Europe.

I should like to spend the rest of my time making one or two comments on some of the points which have been raised by the hon. Member for Flint, East and then to make a few points which, I hope, will have met with the consideration of the Robbins Committee and which I shall seek to make again when that Committee has presented its report. My first comment is on the rate of growth of the univer- sities, to which the hon. Member for Flint, East made some reference. My view is that probably the aim of 150,000 in the universities by 1965–66 as compared with 116,000 today is as fast a rate of expansion as it is reasonably possible to expect without major wastage and decline in standards.

That is a very rapid build-up rate. It is a figure which the University Grants Committeenow reckons it is able to achieve. It did not hold that view fifteen months ago, but since the announcements made earlier this year by the Chief Secretary the number of 150,000 is held to be attainable on present funds. I regard it as about as fast a rate of expansion as is feasible. I take a different view about the target we have set for 1973 or thereabouts of 170,000.

It seems highly probable in view of the demand we shall face for higher education both nationally and personally that we shall want to raise that figure of 170,000 before very long. I very much hope the newer universities in planning for present numbers are taking into account in the planning of sites the possibility of expansion beyond the figures they have at present set themselves.

On the method of growth in the universities the hon. Lady said that she generally favoured the planning of larger rather than smaller universities. I was not quite certain whether she was implying a criticism of the decision in recent years to found some of the new universities rather than to put more money into the further expansion of existing universities. In the short term I think that we would have had a quicker expansion in the existing ones. In the short term it is easier and cheaper to expand the old than to create the new, which take a long time to come into commission.

I believe that, anxious as the hon. Lady and other hon. Members may have been for a crash programme to meet the immediate situation, it would have been a short-sighted policy to do that on the sums of money available, and that a far greater potential, both in quality and in quantity of university places, will be available to us as a result of the decision taken to found the seven new universities.

I also believe that there will be great advantage to the country in having university cities and university towns scattered in many different places; it will spread enlightenment to the professions, to industry and to other places in many parts of the country. We should, therefore, welcome the decision to found the new universities rather than to concentrate more of our attention on the existing universities to meet the immediate need. I believe that the long-term results will justify that view.

May I now make one or two comments on issues which I believe merit urgent consideration in higher education? The first is the problem created for the schools by the pressure of demand for places within universities. There is no doubt that the shortage of university places is having a damaging effect on the school curriculum in the sixth form and even below that. It is a guiding factor in many of our schools. I hope that ways will be found, without damaging the freedom of the universities and academic standards, of associating the schools more closely with decisions about the field in which the universities propose to examine. I believe that there could be more liaison and more agreement between schools and universities in order that the dangers of over-early specialisation and over-narrow specialisation may be mitigated at least to some extent.

I hope that the Leader of the Opposition and those who support him will drop the idea, which he expounded in a speech not long ago, of messing around with the Oxford and Cambridge method of entrance. They may disagree with it, but we are talking about only two universities in more than 20. Surely within our 20 or more universities there is room for a little variety of method, and surely it is better to be a little tolerant about what is going on in this respect in Oxbridge rather than to impose a system which may or may not produce better results. A little tolerance in this field would, I think, be well advised.

Mr. Dalyell

Does not the hon. Member agree, if he uses the word "impose", that the Oxford and Cambridge scholarship system imposes a pattern on schools throughout the land which may or may not be desirable?

Mr. Hornby

There is certainly a case for consultation between the schools and the universities on the nature of this entrance machinery.

The third point which I wish to make about entrance is rather different and one in which I have a particular interest—which I should declare—by reason of my association with a recent foundation known as the Atlantic Colleges. I believe that in a time when people move far more between one country and another, for example, between other European countries and this country, there is a growing need to pioneer and to try to negotiate standards of entrance to universities which will be accepted between different countries. In other words, G.C.E. at appropriate levels would be acceptable to the French universities and in the Scandinavian countries, and vice versa, I hope that attention will be paid to the possibility of obtaining acceptance of this principle.

In viewing the prospect of higher education expansion and the amount of money which it will undoubtedly cost us, I cannot help feeling devoutly thankful that my right hon. Friends followed the recommendations of the minority Report of the Anderson Committee. In viewing the amount of money which we shall need in this respect, I think that we should be pursuing a false sense of priorities if we a accepted an overall undertaking to pay all grants in full, maybe at the expense of other demands in capital or recurrent grants which we should find so much harder to meet if we had adopted the majority Report of the Committee.

I am not greatly impressed by the view held by hon. Members opposite, if I have correctly interpreted their statements, that teacher training colleges should rapidly be converted by name into universities. I do not believe that that would immediately be justifiable in many places in terms of standards. What I hope will be done—and this would have an effect on the number of higher education places available—is to consider making fuller use of the teacher training college places now available. In particular, I have a feeling that if the third year of the teacher training course could be almost fully used for gaining experience in schools, while retaining the principle of a three-year course, this would release one-third of the places for further entrants and we could make considerable gains.

This would have certain advantages in the opportunities for much fuller practice in the schools which could be obtained by the teachers and which would be welcomed, and presumably this could be followed by a refresher course in the teacher training colleges in the summer vacation. There is scope in this way for an experiment which could make many further places available.

One point which has scarcely been touched on concerns the number of places which are at present available and should in future be made available for overseas students in our higher educational system. At present, about 10 per cent. of the places in higher education are occupied by overseas students, a figure which reflects the greatest possible credit on this country and should be more widely known than it is. It is clear that under the pressure of demand during the coming years it will be extremely difficult to hang on to that proportion of places for overseas students against home demand.

I very much hope that we shall find it possible to maintain that proportion, because I believe that there is no greater contribution which this country can make to the standards of living in overseas countries, with consequent effects on our own reputation and on our trade as well as on their hopes for growing prosperity.

Finally, I wish to comment on organisation. It seems to me that the case for removing the control of higher education from the Treasury is overwhelming. With the best of intentions, the Treasury must find it very hard to judge the relative needs of a sphere of activity—higher education—for which they are the spokesmen, and the defenders, against the demands of other Departments with which the Treasury is having dealings. I hope that ways and means will be found of transferring these responsibilities elsewhere. I hope that the Robbins Committee will agree that this change should be effected.

I confess to being very attracted by the development of some form of regional organisation to survey and advise upon higher education developments. If this were done, many of the status problems between universities, teacher training colleges, technological institutes and technical colleges might be solved. Much variety could conveniently be maintained thereby. There would be great advantages in making known quickly and readily where places were available and what types of course needed to be developed rapidly. It would also provide a very convenient way of associating local industry, needs for research, and so on, with the academic institutions. Incidentally, it might provide a pilot scheme for reorganisation which the House would do well to consider in connection with other welfare and social service activities.

I hope that in all that we do in this respect, while increasing numbers, we will not neglect the importance of preserving our extremely high standards of university education. We can best preserve them by not tampering over much with many of our existing institutions and by building new ones along the lines indicated in many of the excellent documents now being prepared by the vice-chancellors of the new universities.

6.2 p.m.

Mr. Malcolm MacPherson (Stirling and Falkirk Burghs)

I am in agreement with the hon. Member for Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby) on many of the points he made. I disagree with him on a number of other points. I strongly support his view about the importance of maintaining the ratio of students from overseas. We should do everything we can to maintain that figure at its present level. This is sometimes not an easy point to put across in Scotland, which has been accustomed for a long time to the practice of qualified students all being able to obtain places at universities. However, if there has to be a choice we must decide in favour of maintaining the ratio of Commonwealth students.

What I do not find so easy to agree with are the decisions of Scottish universities sometimes to admit students from English schools in preference to students from Scottish schools. Occasionally, there may be a marginal academic difference on the side of English students; but it would be a happier solution if we took Scottish qualified students first and then extended hospitality to English students.

The very striking and admirable maiden speech to which we listened from my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) touched on one theme which I had intended to comment on first. The hon. Member for Tonbridge also dealt with this point, namely, the importance of sixth forms. The system of higher education consists of a series of institutions. It is a system which rests on the foundation of sixth forms. There are some students who go to some higher education institutions without going through a sixth form, but, broadly speaking, sixth forms are the foundation of the whole corpus of higher education. They are the basis on which higher education depends.

It is worth considering whether sixth forms are likely to have the kind of future which one would desire for an institution which is the foundation of our higher education system. It does not seem to me that the outlook for sixth forms is particularly promising. The essential point is staff. The staff of sixth forms overlaps with that of universities. Broadly speaking, universities and sixth forms take first or second class honours degrees graduates. In universities the proportion of good second-class honours degrees to first-class honours degrees has been increasing. The proportion of good second-class honours degrees to first-class honours degrees is a good deal higher in sixth forms, I believe.

During the course of the next few years, when there will be a considerable stress in finding staff in universities, I fear that there will be some temptation to take staff from the schools. Indeed, a year or two ago Lord Chorley said in another place that this was one of the sources of many recent appointments to universities. He added that it is absolutely essential that we keep a high proportion of first-rate people in the schools as well as in the universities and other higher education centres, otherwise the level there will sink, with the result that the level of the building on top will sink.

We have tended to concentrate a good deal on the comparatively narrow question of university entrance. This is in many ways the crux of the relationship between universities and schools, but there are other things. We do not handle these questions very well. We are very bad at the junctions in our education system. We have made rather a hash of the junction between primary and secondary education. We are doing badly at the junction between secondary education and higher education. We are not doing particularly well at the junction between graduates and the employment they take up.

The Question has arisen in the House from time to time of attracting graduates into the Foreign Office from other than the two main institutions from which they come. In answer to Questions tabled by myself and other hon. Members, the Foreign Office has for some years said that it would like to recruit such people but cannot. This is a question of the same type as the 11-plus question and the 18-plus question. These are questions on which we are rather ham-handed.

The work of sixth forms and of universities in the first year of some professional courses is very much the same. A number of first-year examination exemptions can be obtained in universities on the basis of work done in the sixth form. This is not always administered liberally. The possibilities of this are not fully explored. This provision has not led to the sort of happy relations between schools and universities which one would have hoped for. The relationship between schools, on the one hand, and universities and other higher education institutions, on the other, needs much improving. Our educational system in general will benefit from whatever steps we take to increase the co-operation and understanding between the two sides.

One matter of considerable importance to Scotland is the emergence of the Royal College of Science in Glasgow as a university. This is of first-rate importance not just for Scotland, but the whole of the United Kingdom. For the first time in our university history a college of technology is being turned into a university. This is the kind of thing we used to talk about in Parliament, when hon. Members drew the analogy with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Now we have this actually coming into being and in the autumn of this year we will have our British equivalent of the Massachusetts Institute. Comparisons with the Imperial College, London, spring to mind.

I take it that whereas the Imperial College is largely a home for post-graduate work, the proportion of graduate and post-graduate work in the new University of Glasgow will remain as the ordinary proportions throughout the university system in this country. Not only is this institution about to become our first university of technology, but its first step within its own establishment, is to be the institution, apart from its scientific and technological courses, of a new faculty of social and industrial studies. Up to now in the Royal College there has been a lively general studies department, but following it becoming a university it will have, in addition to the subjects of science and technology, certain studies outside, connecting the humanities with science and technology.

I do not know how high one can put the possible achievements which may be made as a result of these moves. One probably optimistic comment was that a graduate of the new university is likely to be equally at home in the two cultures about which we have heard so much. Whether or not that is too optimistic I do not know, but this is the kind of problem the new university will be meeting. I hope, therefore, that when we talk in future about university institutions we will keep in mind the desirability of achieving this sort of result.

I have been fascinated to read about the way the new University of Sussex is tackling its job. It has been a thrilling experience to read the account of how that university is trying to approach the study of subjects which, to many people of my generation seem compartmentalised in particular ways. One should not be mesmerised by the new approaches to arts studies. In Glasgow, we have another new approach—an equally important one in our university history.

The possibility of developing really large universities has been mentioned. I used to be against this sort of development, but I am beginning to feel that there may be a case for one or more large universities. I am still rather doubtful and all the arguments in favour of very large universities—that is, of 10,000 or more students—seem to me to relate to the advantages that would accrue to the teacher rather than to the student. There was the possibility of achieving a university of this size in Glasgow where, in such a conurbation, one could have taken the power to have established a really large university. Glasgow is large enough to take one, and the Royal College could have been linked to Glasgow University and a university able to take 15,000, possibly ultimately 20,000 students, could have been achieved.

I consider that the path taken in Glasgow is the wiser one. It will enable us to follow what will probably be a new line of thought in university work. In this connection, a problem which worries many people in Scotland and one about which I have asked many Questions in the House concerns the University Grants Committee's grants. Considering the figures in the University Returns, one finds that the grants given by the U.G.C. to Scottish universities—both recurrent and nonrecurrent grants—are, per head of the student population, considerably less than those given in England and Wales.

There is no point in my asking the usual questions on this topic and getting the usual replies. I appreciate that the criterion of grant per head of the student population is not an all-embracing one, but I would like to know why the amount is less. There may be a perfectly good reason, but I like to know what it is. Depending on the answer we will know whether or not to try to argue to have these grants increased or to leave the matter as it stands.

When considering the U.G.C. and, generally speaking, the system of government of universities as a whole, I am in favour of retaining a body like the U.G.C. It seems to possess a great many of the advantages which one wants in administering the universities from the centre. In public everyone is being polite and gentle to the U.G.C. I am the first to agree that it is a good, liberal-minded, progressive body which is useful under normal circumstances. However, it is not strong enough in a time of crisis; when a big forward-looking job needs to be tackled.

We would not be in our present situation—a situation in which my hon. Friends have been able to call their pamphlet by such a name as "The Years of Crisis"—if the U.G.C. had been thinking five years ahead about problems which were already being considered by members of the public. We would not have been in this difficulty had we had a stronger full-time element in the U.G.C. In 1957 or 1958 its chairman went to help the universities in Australia which, at that time, were in difficulties. The Keith Murray Report has, I understand, been of great help to the Australian universities since. This was an excellent thing for Sir Keith to have done, but while he was in Australia and while in this country, no doubt giving a great deal of thought to the problems of the Australian universities, there was no other full-time member of the U.G.C.

We have only one full-time, professional member, the chairman, while the rest are spare timers. I do not underestimate the value of spare time work done by people of the calibre we get on the U.G.C. but, whatever is said, it is still spare time work. During the 1950s we should, instead of the existing U.G.C., have had a stronger body which would have been more able to develop the kind of plans that were needed at that time.

The other related question concerns the Ministry to act as the "umbrella" of the universities, but I cannot find this particularly important. What matters is the policy to be followed. We politicians are always aware that we can set up an organisation, but that the organisation does not matter two pence unless the appropriate policy is to be found in it. A change of "umbrella" does not matter twopence if the policy remains the same.

I confess that I do not greatly like the idea of the universities being under the Treasury—or under the Ministry of Education, which already has an enormous territory to cover, and might not give the specialised attention necessary. I am inclined to favour a Ministry of Higher Education, but the problem is not worth all the breath used in argument about it. We want to make sure that we get in the Cabinet as a whole a forward-looking and progressive policy for the universities.

Like most other speakers today, I have talked mainly about universities, but that does not by any means mean that I—or, presumably, they—am concerned solely with the universities as illustrations of higher education. The other higher educational institutions seem to warrant as great attention as do the universities, and I am inclined to think that the present system of university administration might well be spread to cover them.

6.22 p.m.

Mr. Philip Goodhart (Beckenham)

By choosing this subject for debate I presume that the Opposition are seeking to censure Her Majesty's Government for their performance in this realm, so I was a little surprised that the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) should have opened our discussion by saying that she expected a flood of favourable statistics from my right hon. Friend. It seemed to me that in the statistical tennis match that then look place between the two sides, whereas the hon. Lady showed the charm and retrieving skill of Miss Billie-Jean Moffitt, my right hon. Friend had the power of McKinley in driving his statistics across the net.

I have only one statistic to add. When I first entered the House in 1957 there was tremendous discussion of the Willis Jackson Report on technical teachers. In 1951 there were some 6,600 full-time technical teachers in further education; today there are more than 22,000 of them. The target set by the Willis Jackson Report has been far exceeded.

A few days ago I had the good fortune to beinvited to a party given by an American Deputy Assistant Secretary of State. I there talked to one of the bright young assistants of the American Secretary of Defence—one of Mr. Macnamara's "Wiz-kids"—and to one of America's most prominent authorities on France and the career of General de Gaulle. I talked to perhaps the most prominent statistician in the American Government today, and also to an American Assistant Secretary of State. It was the sort of party to which a number of us have from time to time been privileged to be invited in Washington, but this party did not take place in Washington but in a room in Balliol during the celebrations of the 700th birthday of that college.

It seems worth while, in a debate in which a great deal to the discredit of British higher education is being bruited about, to remember that British colleges and universities are a magnet to some of the finest minds in the world. When it comes to the intellectual background of the Kennedy Administration in Washington, the President himself was moved to say that it is Harvard that gets all the credit but Oxford that has done a great deal of the work. I therefore hope that the right hon. Gentleman the Leader of the Opposition, who has a very distinguished connection with Oxford, will not get carried too far along the lines of wishing to tamper overmuch with the entrance system to two of the three finest universities in the world.

In this debate, and in Monday's debate on scientific matters, we have heard a great deal about the export of British brains which, perhaps, ought to be teaching at British universities and staffing British laboratories. I do not want any proposal for an honorary degree for myself to be sabotaged, but I must say that I welcome the fact that the products of our universities are in such demand abroad.

One must realise that this is a two-way traffic; a great many people return here having had their education abroad. Dr. Ward is not the only product of an American university to return to this country after receiving training there. Indeed, my youngest brother has recently become a lecturer in economics at Cambridge, having taken a Harvard Ph.D., and I do not think that America has lost any more than Great Britain has gained by his return.

I noticed in the supplement that The Times produced to celebrate the golden jubilee meeting of the Association of Commonwealth Universities that Professor Buchanan estimated that some 10 per cent. of the staffs in British universities had received their training in some other Commonwealth country.

There is a growing realisation of the importance of the university in our society. I think that the atomic bomb, in part, has had something to do with this. Perhaps that is almost the only good thing that has sprung from the explosion of the bomb. It was interesting to note that when the Russians had put their sputnik into orbit the reaction on the part of the public in this country and in the United States was that our educational system needed to be looked at more closely and vigorously. Today in the United States, quite rightly, the close look is concentrated upon secondary education. In this country it is concentrated on our whole concept of higher education.

It seems to me quite right when we have developments of this sort affecting our national security that it should now be realised that they are the direct result of the performance of our educational system. Sixty years ago Lord Haldane, speaking in the constituency of the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees), whose maiden speech we heard with such enthusiasm earlier today, said: Courage, energy and enterprise are in these modern days of little more avail against the weapons which science can put into the hands of our rivals in commerce than was the splendid fighting of the Dervishes against the shrapnel and the Maxims at Omdurman. He went on from this to argue that we should establish more universities, and especially a university in Leeds.

We now recognise that the performance of higher education has a direct relevance to our national security. At the same time, we have seen in the last few years the consolidation in British industry of graduates at the top. It has been impossible for many years for anyone without a good university degree to get to the top of the British Civil Service. Quite soon it will be impossible for anyone to get to the top in one of the major industrial companies of this country without a good university degree. This increasing awareness in different parts of our society of the value of the graduate has increased the importance of obtaining a degree at the same time as we have had a tremendous increase in the number of people who are now capable of going on to university education.

The hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs(Mr. Malcolm MacPherson) referred to the position of sixth forms in our schools. What has created this atmosphere of anxiety about our universities is the tremendous increase in the number going through the sixth form. Figures of G.C.E. Advanced Level passes in 1961 show that these passes have far more than doubled within 10 years. This has enormously increased the number of people who are anxious to enter and capable of entering the universities. This has put a tremendous pressure on what Sir Eric Ashby has called our élitism.

We have heard from all sides today the statistics of the ratio of our university staffs to students which is a reflection of the spirit of élitism. There are two things which one can do in higher education. One can teach people how to do things and one can try to stimulate people to ask why things are done. In this country we have had a "why" concentrated higher education and university system and I doubt whether the number of people who can benefit from that "why" type of education can be very much extended. I doubt whether many of them fail to get into university at the moment. But what we have also is a tremendous increase in the number of people who can benefit from a "how" type of education. In a "why" education one needs a very large number of staff to obtain direct personal contact and the stimulus between student and teacher, but when it comes to increasing the number who benefit from higher education I doubt whether we need such an enormously high proportion of university teachers to students.

I am not so sure that we are right and the Americans, and in particular the French, are wrong in the respective ratios. This is one of the many matters which one expects will be authoritatively dealt with by the Robbins Committee. I would hope that it should be possible to squeeze more people into existing institutions and to get more people in before more teachers are available. It may be that many will have to sit on the window sills, but it seems to me that in higher education it is preferable to have to sit on the window sill and not on a comfortable chair than to have to sit outside a locked door.

I have some sympathy with the views put forward by hon. Members opposite in calling for rather larger universities than we have at the moment. Having seen them in operation in other parts of the world, I can appreciate the merits of size. I am not so opposed to universities of 10,000, even 15,000 or 20,000 students as are some of my hon. Friends and a great many people in higher education. But if we are to have a continuing increase in the number of students at universities this will impose a considerable cost on local education authorities.

My right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary to the Treasury was quite right in pointing out that we are the only country in the free world which has this system of paying large grants to our university students. As the number goes up so the burden on the rates will increase. I believe very strongly that this part of the higher education financial burden should be pushed from local authorities wholly on to the Treasury. Whether the responsibility for higher education as a whole should then be pushed out to the Treasury, I cannot quite make up my mind. I can see very considerable advantages from the point of view of a British university, in saying that when questions of university finance are under discussion the Minister of the Treasury should come and answer for himself rather than stay in the background and let some other poor Minister come and bear the heat and burden of our criticisms.

I am not sure that transferring the responsibility for universities away from the Treasury will automatically be of benefit to higher education in this country. The Treasury is not a dramatic Ministry. It is not one which lends itself readily to the wilder forms of publicity. It seems to me that what we have lacked in our approach to higher education is not necessarily sound policy, and not even sound money, but a sense of drama and excitement about the expansion which is going on and is contemplated. So when the Robbins Committee Report is published I hope it will get a dramatic response from the Government.

6.42 p.m.

Mr. Austen Albu (Edmonton)

The hon. Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart), in his interesting remarks about the recent goings on at Balliol College, referred to the contribution which the British universities have made to the United States Administration. Perhaps in the present circumstances of this country a more relevant consideration would be the contribution made by the Harvard Business School to the leadership of British industry.

I could not help thinking that the hon. Member was really arguing to some extent in the context of a past world. It seems to me that the whole of his attitude towards the élite system of education in this country was one which we are now beginning to realise we can no longer maintain. I know that once one has said that, one gets oneself involved in the argument, particularly in academic circles, as to whether or not the vast increase in numbers we are envisaging will grossly lower the standards. The hon. Gentleman apparently believes in a sharply-divided system of higher education with a sort of élite at the top and a rather larger number of less trained at the bottom. Obviously, this is a complicated matter and I do not wish to go into it in detail, but we really must break the circle somewhere between the needs of expansion and the danger of lowering standards, including those of teaching, because of the shortage of teachers. We have got to break the circle if we are to make the explosive expansion which is demanded.

I think it was the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, referring to the comparison between what happens in our own country and what happens in universities of other countries, who said that in this country it is the cream of the students who get the best education and the greatest amount of teaching attention. But the fact that in other countries, like the United States, the number of universities and university students is much greater does not mean that the cream of the students do not get just as good an education with just as much teaching attention as they do in this country. The fact that one has a pyramid with a large base does not mean that one does not have an apex. Expansion in numbers in the university system will not destroy the best students and the best teaching. Some institutions will undoubtedly do better than others and have a higher reputation than others. Some teachers will undoubtedly have a higher reputation and some students will do better than others. One way in which we could have a system in which the number of top-level students was maintained would be by extending post-graduate education, which in any case is badly needed in this country.

I had intended to speak about the further development of the policies of technical education, about which not so much has been said so far in this debate. The colleges of advanced technology have, in a surprisingly short time, taken their place in our system of higher education at university level. They await the Robbing report with confidence, if not also with a certain amount of impatience. My hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) referred to the college of which I have the honour to be a governor. It is in the invidious position of not knowing whether it can move to its new site until it knows whether it is going to be a degree-granting university. The Minister knows the case well, though I would not have mentioned it if my hon. Friend had not done so and I hope that the Minister will make a statement as soon as possible about the status of these colleges.

Many of them have developed departments in other subjects than applied natural science and technology. Some have departments of management studies, some of psychology or sociology. I know of one which has an interesting languages department, which bases the teaching of languages not mainly on the classical literary culture of the country but on the study of its technical literature. This may help to avoid the situation of the firm which received a letter from a Far Eastern country. The letter was sent off to a university professor for translation, and eventually it came back. It started off with the usual felicitations and turned out to be an inquiry from an engineering firm. It was, according to the translation, an inquiry for a quotation for a "water sheep". This was difficult to understand, until it was recalled that the firm made hydraulic machinery and that what the customer wanted was a "hydraulic ram". I was talking recently to M. Louis Armand, famous engineer and Director-General of the French Railways, who told me that he is trying to develop in France a similar system of teaching languages. If colleges of advanced technology can do this sort of thing, they will be performing a useful job.

Other colleges combine courses in the physical and human science. It is a useful combination which could provide both for teachers and those who go into industry. One college is trying to organise a thick sandwich course consisting of two years at college followed by a year in industry or other work and the fourth year back in college. A suggestion which might interest the Secretary for Technical Co-operation is that students should spend their practical year teaching science in a developing country and then come back and complete their last year at college.

I know that some colleges are anxious to train teachers. If science teachers were trained in these colleges, the advantage would be that they would be trained in association with technologists, and they might even have some sandwich courses and be able themselves to see something of industry. Then we would not have in our sixth forms science teachers who know nothing about engineering and a situation in which the best boys are not persuaded to enter engineering, as was disclosed in the recent report of the Oxford Department of Education on this extremely important subject. This would be one of the advantages of training science teachers in the colleges of advanced technology. These new departments are not just ancillary departments, like most departments of liberal studies, but departments in their own right. So far they can give no recognised award; they have to give a college diploma. Nevertheless, there is an enormous demand for places in them.

One of the extraordinary things about the explosion in the demand for university education is that it is now taking place for the first time in recent years in the social sciences in an extraordinary way. There is one case of which I have personal knowledge, as the Minister knows, of a completely new department of psychology and social science in which the head of the department originally wondered whether any students would ever turn up, but had to stop applications after 160 had been received for 18 places in the first year. These 160 applications were considered to be nearly all of them first-class material, some of whom had 3 or even 5 A-levels, although some of course, had not yet got their A-levels, and all but 18 had to be turned down. The result was that the college received many telephone calls from headmasters and headmistresses and parents asking, "Why cannot my boy or my girl take this course?" This is quite extraordinary for a college which cannot give a degree or recognised award and which is not yet very well known.

My hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East referred to the extraordinary shortage of places in our universities for higher education as a whole. Sir Eric Ashby has already been quoted, but no one has quoted the figures that he gave, that only 5 to 6 per cent. of the age groups in the 1970s will become full-time university students, while 12 per cent. could successfully pursue a university course. I do not think that Sir Eric Ashby was including the colleges of advanced technology. Even under the present plans they will by that time add only another 1 per cent. to these figures.

The colleges of advanced technology seem to me to form a natural basis for the expansion of university education both by increasing the number of students and by broadening their faculties. I think that it has not been sufficiently realised to what extent the basis exists in these colleges. I must tell the Minister that the colleges now feel that the head of steam behind the programme of expanding them has gone out; that the drive that there was a year or two ago in the Ministry of Education is no longer there.

It is not only that they complain of cuts in their estimates. The rate of increase in the estimates does not correspond to the rate of the increase in the number of students they are expected to take. Incidentally, it is quite untrue that there is a large number of vacancies in the colleges, except in the departments of engineering and one or two other departments, for special reasons. This point about the vacancies in the department of engineering applies also in the universities, and, of course, it affects the C.A.T.s even more because the proportion of engineering places is higher in the C.A.T. than in the universities. If there were really a large number of places vacant in the C.A.T.s it would make even more ridiculous the fact that they are excluded from the university clearing house system. Many of these colleges have been planning, with Ministerial consent, for a complete rebuilding on new sites, and when this gets into its stride in a few years' time the sums that will be required will be much greater than the sums so far mentioned for capital grants over the next few years. I have not the exact figures, but sums have been mentioned and I do not think that they will be anything like the sums that will be needed when the planning of several of these colleges arts together beginning to build up.

I ask the Minister to consider again the number of residential places allowed. At present, it is only 30 per cent. Some of these colleges are not new institutions like the new universities. Some have been in existence for 50 or 60 years, and, if they move to their new sites, they will move at absolutely full size, with anything from 1,500 to, perhaps, 2,000 students. Therefore, the problem of residential places is much more serious for them than it is for a university building up from scratch.

In the C.A.T.s there is a feeling that the Department now lacks drive and is unwilling to take decisions, and this is having a serious effect on their development and morale. I recognise that the question of their status is a difficult one for the Minister, but I do ask him to give his urgent attention to this point. There are other matters of concern in the C.A.T.s. There is strong feeling about the delay in deciding the salary scales for lecturers. This is a difficult problem which is affected by relations with the unions concerned, and soon. Any attempt, however, to compare salaries at technical colleges with salaries at universities really takes no account of the fact that, under the Burnham technical scale and under the scale operating in the C.A.T.s. progress to the upper limit of the lecturer's scale is dependent upon the number of vacancies in the establishment, whereas no such barrier exists in the universities. Like my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East, I do not propose to say anything about salary scales in this conection; I do not regard it as a proper subject for this House. But the fact remains that this, too, seems to have given the colleges another example of lack of drive and unwillingness on the part of the Department to take decisions.

Pressure on university places has led not only to the growth of demand for places in the C.A.T.s but to an extraordinary growth of degree courses in regional colleges. Anyone who sees the advertisements in the weekly Press will understand this. Although the number may not appear high in the education statistics at present, it will rise very rapidly if the trend continues. Many regional colleges are already also doing Dip.Tech. courses, and this raises the question of the future of the colleges and of the awards which they give. There is a real danger of more confusion arising even than there is now in the matter of awards.

I do not know the exact number, but I think that there are 23 or 24 regional colleges and that about half a dozen of them are fit immediately for college of advanced technology status. The question remains, what about the rest? At what level of education should they aim? Unfortunately, in this country, one has to look at the awards because, historic- ally, awards—not all of the present ones, of course—started before the education. We must bring some order into the present confusion of degrees, Dip. Techs., Higher National Diplomas and Higher National Certificates.

One solution which has been tried by some local education authorities is to form a new type of university college out of a regional college of technology, a teacher training college and a college of art. This is being done, for instance, in Middlesex, and I regard it as a very interesting development. What some of the colleges would like to do would be to provide teaching at both degree level and at sub-degree level. For the former, it is suggested that they might turn the present Higher National Diploma, gained by three years' full-time training or sandwich course, into a sort of pass degree, and that in some way the colleges should be accredited as degree-giving bodies by a small committee—not a large representative body like the National Council for Technological Awards, but a small one. But the colleges would still continue to do sub-professional work at the Higher National Certificate level or the technician level. Also, it would be necessary in those circumstances—I think that it may be necessary anyway—that these colleges should become direct-grant institutions and come under whatever arrangements and machinery we have for higher education in the future, although, of course, the local education authorities would continue to participate on the governing bodies.

All these changes obviously call for a Department considering these matters full-time. I think that a lot of the confusion which arose in the development of the colleges of advanced technology and the Diploma in Technology courses, with the Ministry approving the colleges and the Hives Council approving the courses, and so on, was due to the fact that there was no permanent body available and really capable of surveying the whole situation of higher education and making decisions.

The argument that, if one has a greater degree of overall planning and control in higher education, one will interfere with academic freedom is really nonsense. I think that the Chief Secretary was trailing his coat or using one of his usual political tricks, hoping that some of the dirt would stick, in what he said at the end of his speech. If I may say so, it was typical of the right hon. Gentleman. In fact, of course, as I said in an interjection, the Government are already directing the universities to expand the departments of technology. I thoroughly approve of that direction, but it was a direction. It was an interference with the academic freedom of the University Grants Committee. All I am saying is that such direction and control of the way in which our universities and institutes of higher education should expand and develop will have to continue and be enlarged. The universities receive enormous sums of public money and so do the students. No one wishes to interfere with what the teachers teach, with the results of their research or with their publication, but the areas in which expansion should take place and the rate of expansion necessary are, obviously, matters of public concern which any Government, especially a Government who have now started to put a foot on the ladder of economic planning, cannot possibly afford to ignore.

7.1 p.m.

Mr. Geoffrey Johnson Smith (Holborn and St. Pancras, South)

I am not sure that I followed correctly the argument put by the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) at the end of his speech. My right hon. Friend made crystal clear that he thought that it would be very reprehensible on the part of any Government to interfere with the autonomy of the universities and their academic freedom. But I see no harm in a Government expressing a wish or giving a general direction for a certain line of studies to be expanded at a certain time if that be in the national interest. I see no inconsistency in this. I thought that the hon. Gentleman was criticising my right hon. Friend, and I rush to his defence.

Mr. Albu

I was drawing attention to the fact that interference with academic freedom was already, to some extent, being undertaken by the present Government. I approve of it.

Mr. Johnson Smith

Now I understand. I am glad that the hon. Gentleman approves. I should not have thought that he would really approve of interference with academic freedom, but I leave that point for the moment. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me if I do not follow him in his remarks about the colleges of advanced technology. I fully share his view of their importance in higher education. Plainly, within their very short life so far, they have turned out to be a tremendous success, and many of us predict a brighter future for them. However, I say no more about the C.A.T.s now because, unlike the hon. Gentleman, I have none in my constituency and I have not his extensive knowledge.

I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby) when he says that this debate is ill-timed. In my opinion, it is remarkably ill-timed. I can think of one reason why it has been chosen for this occasion. It is a good opportunity, so the Opposition thought, to embarrass the Government just before we go away for the Summer Recess. But, as my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham (Mr. Goodhart) pointed out, in the battle of facts and information which has gone back and forth across the Floor, the day has so far been won by my right hon. Friend. This is a bad time for the debate because—let us face it—we are discussing the subject, as right hon. and hon. Members opposite who had a hand in choosing it know very well, on the eve of the great drive which is coming. The "golden book", the report which is being prepared for us by Robbins, is soon to come. The curtain will be lifted in the autumn. We shall all have a go at it, and most of us wish to reserve our fire. I do not for a moment suggest that I know what the Robbins report will contain or that I intend to attack it at all. All I am saying is that we all have what we regard as important comments and fundamental thoughts to express about the state of higher education in this country, and we feel, or should feel, that at this moment these are better kept to ourselves.

Mrs. White

Then why not sit down?

Mr. Johnson Smith

I shall not accept the hon. Lady's invitation to sit down. I have something to say nevertheless. This opportunity served up to us by the Opposition can be put to good account, as it already has been by my right hon. Friend. I propose to use it as an occasion for a prologue, on my part, at least. I feel that a few prefatory remarks might indicate the sort of posture which I think the Government ought to prepare for the big drama when it comes in the autumn, the sort of new posture which the Opposition had better hurriedly adopt if they are to make any constructive use of the Robbins Report, and the sort of attitude of mind which might well be cultivated by some academicians in our universities.

The last time I had the opportunity of speaking in full-dress debate on higher education—I think that it may have been the only occasion when we have had such a broad debate on it—was on 5th April last year. On that occasion, such was the attitude of my right hon. Friend's predecessor and the other members of the Government that I was forced to conclude that I could not possibly support them as I would normally wish to do because, of course, I believe that their policies are sound. On that occasion, however, such was their attitude, I was forced to absent myself from the Chamber. Nothing came from the benches opposite which led me to think that I could further the cause of education by going into the Lobby with the Opposition.

Since that time, a change has taken place. Then, as we know, the Government rejected some of the recommendations of the University Grants Committee, although I felt quite certain that it would not be long before they changed their tack. I knew that they had the interests of higher education at heart, and I felt that they had, for once, as is only human, made a mistake.

Because I know my right hon. and hon. Friends rather better than do most members of the faculties of our universities, I have a better awareness of what the Government are doing and a sense of gratitude for the attitude which they have since shown. Why do some academic personalities not share my feeling of gratitude towards the Government? First, I think, they have got fed up, over the years, with chopping and changing. In one paragraph, the Plowden Report says: There is no doubt…that chopping and changing in Government expenditure policies is frustrating to efficiency and economy in the running of the public services". We have seen some of the recommendations in the Plowden Report adopted by certain Government Departments. I have in mind, for instance, the Minister of Health's long-term hospital plan and his plan for health and welfare.

The feeling in higher education is that this, too, is obviously a field which very much lends itself to a similar measure of consistency. We look at things at five-yearly intervals. There are the quinquennial arrangements for grants, and so forth. However, the chopping and changing has disturbed affairs in higher education in the past, and, although the Government have shown a change of heart, there is still a scar left on the academic bodies. Bearing in mind the way in which the advice in the Plowden Report has been taken up by other Government Departments and the change of heart in the Treasury towards higher education, I feel that our universities need not worry any more—orcertainly need not worry unduly—about the possibility of the Government reverting to a chop-and-change policy.

It would be utterly reprehensible, in my view, if there were such a reversion. Although the total investment in higher education is to increase, and commendably so, it is not of such a size, nor is it ever likely to be, as to rival the sort of expenditure one sees in the Estimates for pensions or for the other side of education, that is, primary and secondary education, or for health or defence.

In other words, if the country ever does enter a period of mild recession in which it is imperative that the Government pull back a bit on public expenditure, there must be confidence in academic circles that if the Government really want to put higher education at the head of the queue its proportion of public expenditure should be sacrosanct short of some most dreadful economic emergency. I felt that, last year, we did not face such a tremendous economic emergency. It is essential that public expenditure on higher education, which forms, and always will form, such a minute part of the total, should not be cut back. That would have a deleterious effect on the university expansion schemes which I am sure most of us on both sides agree are fundamental to the future success of this country. They should have first priority. This is how I argued a year ago, and I see no reason to depart from that point of view. I have every reason to believe that the Government accept that higher education should have the highest priority. I think that the Government have so far got themselves in the right posture and in the right frame of mind to look at the Robbins report with an open mind.

I enjoyed the speech of the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White). I thought that it contained many things which were well worth listening to. I do not mean that I agreed with every word that she said, because I did not. There was one point in her speech which I wish to take up because it could lead us into dangerous water. It was touched on quite a lot on Monday by the hon. Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman). There is growing up the feeling that any Tom, Dick or Harry who is denied a research grant is being done down by the Government. We have "researchitis" at the moment. I do not wish it to be thought here or in any other quarter that I underestimate the value and importance of research in our universities and other institutions. I do not. Obviously it is the lifeblood of whatever faculty one is in. It keeps things moving and ideas stirring, quite apart from any materialistic benefits which it may bring.

However, research is open-ended and one must have a fairly strong sense of priority in research. I have had some experience of American institutions. I have visited about 60 of them. As the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East may know, I lived close to two very good universities in America for two and a half years, and I began to recognise how far this researchitis could go. One met on campus after campus what I call the eternal student—the fellow who has taken degree after degree and who can always find some minutiae of life which needs further exploration and research. I know of a chap who wanted to look at the behaviour patterns of British voters. He proposed to spend years on this and no doubt a great book will be published which no one will read and he will add another degree to his name. These people go round with great trailers from one university to another, their wives go out to work and all their children are scruffily dressed because they cannot afford to live properly.

Mr. Dalyell

Some research subjects are of monumental irrelevance, but in order to get a decent job and, more important, promotion at either a university or in colleges of advanced technology one must take a Ph.D. research degree. Is not this an argument for, perhaps, a second degree for teaching not based primarily on research for university teaching?

Mr. Johnson Smith

I agree.

Mrs. White

Will the hon. Gentleman also take into account that if one does not have, as we are having now, an increasing number of research grants in the sense of post-graduate work, the alternative in certain subjects will be to have a longer first-degree course for more people, which might be more costly?

Mr. Johnson Smith

I am not sure whether it would cost more. It may be that there is a good case to be made for a longer first-degree course. In this country it is three years and in other countries four years. In many universities in this country there is no intermediate year, which is a valuable year, I gather, from people who have endured it, which I never did. I was brought up in the post-war cramming phase. We were all pushed into universities and emerged with degrees after two years. That really was a factory. I accept what both hon. Members opposite say. I do not think that it makes one iota of different to the point that I was trying to make.

As a result of this mania for research in some faculties, we find that the process is self-defeating. One has only to look at the terrible shortage of good mathematics teachers in our secondary schools. The degree itself gets over-specialised, and people who get this degree, instead of coming back, as we want them to do, into the schools to help train more people in mathematics and to give them a decent grounding in that subject, get sucked off into the minutiae of specialised mathematics. There is a shortage of teachers in this faculty and the universities are hollering for but cannot get the men whom they want to fill the faculty. This is a form of intellectual hara-kiri.

I want to widen my approach and to deal with the posture of hon. Members opposite. I am glad that the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East did not refer in too much detail to the Taylor Report, which was an absolute stinker. I get very angry when I go round the universities and have that wretched Report quoted at me. It has been used as a good piece of political huxtering. It is said, "The Tories are putting the brakes on. Little Willie cannot get into university. If you vote for the Labour ticket there will be 45 universities established in centres of high population"—45 universities in the next 20 years. This is the Taylor Report.

However, when we examine the Report we find that most of the proposed universities would be universities in name only. Many of them would not be new universities because one finds included in the list colleges of advanced technology, teacher training colleges and many other colleges. As Dr. Kenneth Urwin, executive secretary of the Association of University Teachers, said: You cannot create universities just by changing the names of other institutions. The effect of the scheme would be to destroy the value of any B.A. anywhere. The Taylor Report left out the technological colleges since, it was said, they were largely concerned with people under 18 years of age. Therefore, they do not strictly come within the scope of this document. The Technical Journal of the Association of Teachers in Technical Institutions got after the Taylor Committee on that and asked whether it realised that there were over 1 million students aged 18 or over in technical and other colleges of further education, more than 30,000 of whom were full-time and the rest were doing sandwich courses, and wondered whether the Taylor Committee was showing a lot of ignorance.

The Report talked about expansion in university places. Apparently, 700,000 places would be provided by 1980. The Report says that the fundamental trouble appears to be a lack of individual attention for the student. To be realistic about this, how on earth we can have this expansion and still preserve the teacher-student ratio in our universities I do not know.

As the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East inferred, the Taylor Committee did not have access to all sorts of information. It did not have statisticians, and the like. It was not as well serviced as the Robbins Committee. It is a pity that the party opposite did not hold up the Report. I hope that it withdraws it, and that it will cease to be part of Labour Party doctrine because if it approaches higher education in the spirit revealed in the Taylor Report, of which a lot of people have spoken harshly, I do not think hon. Members opposite will be in a very fit frame of mind to examine the Robbins report. Some of the figures which emerged from my right hon. Friend's speech discredited in a way far better than I have been able to do a thoroughly wretched piece of work.

What the Taylor Report says bears no relation to the standards of our universities. I was at London University a few weeks ago and saw the students' magazine. I wish that I had a copy of it with me. Inside was a two-page spread on life at the Sorbonne by one of the students. There is no relationship between life at the Sorbonne and life at a university as we know it. It was pointed out that those at the Sorbonne "slum it" compared with those who enjoy the facilities provided at London University, with the maintenance grants which students enjoy, and so on.

Tuition at the Sorbonne is free. There is not the rigorous selection procedure which we have here. Hon. Members opposite should have heard from the fellow who wrote this article the tales of the overcrowded classes at the Sorbonne. As I say, it is not a university as we know it. There was no community spirit in the overcrowded classrooms nor the mingling in university community life between students of one faculty and another. One could wander round to a cheap cafe for which one was provided with a ticket which allowed one to have a cheaper meal, but as the food was so foul it was not patronised by the students.

When looking at this sort of situation and comparing universities in this country with those elsewhere we should be quite clear what we are comparing. I do not want it ever to be suggested that somebody like myself or my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham, because he says that the Kennedy Administration is packed with scholars, is complacent. I say that those at the London University are living at the Ritz in comparison with the Sorbonne. I do not say that we are smug, but we are developing our higher educational institutions, and particularly universities, on rather different lines from those of other countries. There is little in our academic record which makes me feel that during our history these traditions have been hopelessly wrong.

As, however, we have come to something of a cross-roads, one should bear in mind that it was within that kind of framework that Governments had to operate. It was not possible, as could be done at other institutions in other countries, simply to expand so long as one had a really selective procedure. On Monday the hon. Member for Coventry, East made great fun of the fact that after the Tories came to power the number of people at our universities declined. He suggested that this was the fault of the Tory Administration. Of course it was not.

We all know why the numbers declined. It was not entirely due to the fact that people like myself had got a little order after coming out of the Army and had gone into outside life. One of the reasons was that the universities wanted it that way. They did not like a lot of people, like myself, going up there making the numbers large and losing the intimate touch. They thought that this might lead to a diminution in the standards of the universities and destroy the precious atmosphere which they had built up since medieval times. "Away with those people", they said. "Let us get back to our pre-war figures. It is nice and cosy that way."

There is a conservative element, not simply at Oxford and Cambridge but at London or any other university, which, for various reasons, does not think that it is in the long-term educational interests of the nation to have huge universities like factories or like the big institutions which one sees in the United States, with enormous stadiums like Wembley, with a huge faculty pouring in to attend the football game and with scholarships being awarded for football as a sop. That is what people think will happen if the universities are made too large.

Furthermore, as expansion proceeds we must face the fact that although there are those who will benefit from a course of higher education which will enable them to find out "how" a thing works as I think my hon. Friend the Member for Beckenham put it, there will be fewer of those who benefit from the sort of education which, we are told, the best universities would provide—education which teaches people to question, to inquire why a thing is so. In our search for egalitarianism it is no good funking this issue. It may be that there is something to be said for our system.

One might infer from those remarks that I am completely opposed to the views expressed by Sir Geoffrey Crowther and that I take the side of those Conservatives who do not agree with him. I hold my fire and tend to side with those who feel that our universities are capable of greater expansion than has so far been afforded to them, and I would like to see it take place.

My last comment concerns the universities themselves and the posture which they might take. In this, I am indebted to a man who is rapidly becoming the most-quoted academician probably of all time. I refer to the Principal of London University, Sir Douglas Logan, whom the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East quoted today and to whom her hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East referred on Monday.

I wish to draw the attention of the House to a few comments made by the Principal of London University about the attitude of universities. He starts with the view that because public investment at universities is increasing it is no good universities trying to live in an ivory tower so that they can decide how to run their own affairs and ignoring the public world altogether. I know that I am treading on dangerous ground, because my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education is a great defender of academic freedom and automony. Nevertheless, the Principal poses this question and he is right to do so.

My view while respecting academic freedom and autonomy, is that unless they are willing to show a less conservative attitude to some practical problems, what they will not do voluntarily might be forced upon them one day, so great will be the frustration unless they realise that the greater the extent to which they depend or public money the greater is the feeling which people have about universities and the more direct interest they take in how they run their affairs.

The Principal of London University is a courageous man, but he would not stick out his neck this far unless he knew that he had support in the universities. He criticises the present state of affairs at universities with regard to entrance requirements. He regards them as diverse and unco-ordinated. At one time a person could go to his own local university; the intake was local and the local school tended in its sixth-form curriculum to gear itself to the requirements of the local university. We know that all this has changed. Many universities no longer regard themselves as local but consider themselves as national. With the pressure of admissions, people are tending, apart from the ability to move from one place to another, to search, putting their names down for this or that university.

Therefore, the Principal of London University thinks—and I agree with him—that in this day and age one should not vary the entrance requirements too much as between one university and another. He takes after Oxford and Cambridge on this point when he says that both Oxford and Cambridge and the Northern Universities Joint Matriculation Board have gone off on a frolic of their own with the introduction of a compulsory Use-of-English paper. This evidently does not apply elsewhere. His view is that we should have somewhat more uniformity.

Certainly many of the faculties of different universities have different requirements. Some of them are quite arbitrary. Sir Douglas Logan even takes after his own university on that. He notices that some colleges demand A-level Latin for admission to certain arts honours courses, while the rest are content with the university requirement of a pass at O-level. If one is to ease the heartache of going through this rigorous selective procedure of even striving to get into a university at all, it seems not very sensible for reasons of this sort to make the problem rather more difficult than it need be.

The Principal of London University makes one other point. He makes a number of points, but I refer only to two. His second main criticism of entrance requirements is that they impose too great a burden on boys and girls at schools. He says this for the simple reason that advanced level syllabuses are expanded as we get to know more—in other words, there is more information—and they also become more specialist in content. This, in turn, makes it more necessary that a boy in the sixth form should get high marks and become increasingly specialised in order to qualify for one of these rather intensively specialised and expanded courses. At the same time, as he points out, the universities inconsistently complain that their entrants lack general education and cannot express themselves properly in their native language. Sir Geoffrey Crowther has the last word on this, which is quoted by Sir Douglas Logan. He summed this up on one occasion in his book by saying: Schools and universities agree in theory on the need for balanced education; in practice, however, they refuse to will the means, and must therefore be held to deny the end. What Sir Geoffrey Crowther said, on that occasion some years ago, holds good today.

Whereas I fully support the views of my right hon. Friend about not interfering with academic freedom or autonomy, when one sees that sort of criticism being made by a distinguished member of university circles and one sits in this place expecting to support the universities, wanting to support them but knowing all the practical difficulties, Parliamentarians in turn have a right to expect the universities to put their house in order. No doubt they will be given that opportunity when the Robbins Report is published. That report may or may not be radical. I have no idea what suggestions will emerge. But, bearing in mind the calibre of the Committee, I imagine that it will be a thundering good report. If it is, then it will make some radical suggestions. If it does, I hope that the Government will be equally bold, take up those suggestions and see that they are adopted. But suppose the report turns out to be a bit of a disappointment? I hope that the Government will be bold, anyway.

7.30 p.m.

Mr. Alan Fitch (Wigan)

Unlike the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mr. G. Johnson Smith), I think that this is a very timely debate. I agree on that point with the Chief Secretary and with my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White). There is considerable interest and concern in the country about higher education. I am perhaps privileged to catch your eye tonight, Mr. Speaker, for I am the first hon. Member to have taken part in the debate who has not been educated at a university. I thus approach the subject as a layman.

My postbag and articles and correspondence in the Press suggest that this is a subject of great concern to many sixth formers who have obtained the necessary qualifications for entry into university but who fear they will not get there. In fact, what one might call 18-plus fears are becoming very real. Indeed, they are becoming as big a headache as 11-plus fears.

I do not want to quote too many figures, but last year one in four sixth formers with two advanced level subjects failed to get to university. The right hon. Gentleman seemed to suggest—I may be wrong—that, after all, two A levels did not really amount to very much and that numbers of students with two A levels would not be suitable for university education.

The right hon. Gentleman may be right up to a point, but a great deal depends not only on obtaining two A-levels, but on the standard of marking as well. The pass mark may well go up year by year so that it will take a great deal of ability to get two A-Ievels. I am very pleased, in view of the interest shown in the 18-plus, that a committee has been set up under Lord James to look into this from, I hope, every important aspect. I am sure that its findings will be very interesting.

The Government would be quite wrong to think that there is complacency about higher education. There is great concern about the whole structure, both financial and administrative. There is also concern about the salaries paid to lecturers in the universities, the colleges of advanced technology and the training colleges. There is concern about our general ability as a country to compete with other countries where the opportunities for higher education are greater than they are here.

What is the future outlook? I think that it is agreed by all of us that higher education will expand very rapidly. It has been estimated that in ten years' time twice the number of pupils will get qualifications for entry into a university, assuming, of course, that the qualifications remain as they are. This, of course, is due to the possibility of the school leaving age being raised to 16 and, if it is not, that those at secondary modern schools will stay on anyhow.

Many local authorities will abolish the 11-plus method of selection and will introduce comprehensive education. Whilst I do not want to make too exorbitant claims for comprehensive education, I believe that it will give more children the opportunity to reach university standard. I think that all of these things I have mentioned mean that there will be a rapid increase in the number of children qualified for university.

There will also be a development, in the economy as automation, nuclear energy and other sciences and technologies advance. More and more graduates will be required to uphold the new and increasing posts of responsibility. Many occupations are now passing through a transitional stage and will be regarded in a few years' time as professions. They will demand more and more graduates. In this century, we have seen dentistry and teaching, neither of which was a profession at the beginning of the century, coming to be regarded as such. Higher education will in itself, as it expands, demand more and more graduate teachers.

Thus, while there will be more and more children qualifying for university entrance, there will be more and more opportunists for them. I must be fair and say that the difficulty which any Government, whether Conservative or Labour, will face will be to get some sort of balance between the number of children who will qualify and the number of jobs likely to be available for them.

Another important factor is that at present there are more than 20,000 students from under-developed countries being educated here. That is a very good thing indeed, and I hope that it will continue, because it is good for the democratic form of Government that those who come here to study should return to become the leaders in commerce, science and the arts in their own countries. We must also take into account that the number of these students will also rise in the next decade. I welcome that very much.

I was interested in the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion that education should be taken out of the party dogfight. I agree that education is probably not the best subject about which to have a real party dogfight, but the Government are not blameless. The Chief Secretary painted a very rosy picture of what the Government have done, and I concede that during the last two years they have certainly got a move on.

Prior to two years ago, they were very lax. They had no long-term plans. It is no use their suggesting that they are blameless. My hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East said that the present Home Secretary, when Chief Secretary, blocked the grants coming from the University Grants Committee last year. The previous year the former Chancellor of the Exchequer delayed the Grants Committee sanctioning the commencement of the seventh new university.

Those facts must be taken into consideration. Hon. Members opposite must not regard themselves as blameless in this matter. The Minister of Education, who is not here at the moment, wears the new Tory look. I was interested to read in the Press the other day that he has a sense of awareness. Of what, I do not know—the article did not say; but it is an interesting thought.

The hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South is a progressive radical Conservative. [An Hon. Membe: "What is that?"] If my hon. Friend discusses that question with the hon. Member afterwards the hon. Member will tell him what a progressive radical Conservative is, as he has told me on previous occasions.

Mr. G. Johnson Smith

I shall be delighted.

Mr. Fitch

The progressive radical Conservatives—the Bow Group—do not represent the general feeling in the Conservative Party. What they are attempting to do at the moment is to "pinch" the Labour Party's educational clothes, just as the Chancellor of the Exchequer tried to "pinch" our economic policy when he introduced his Budget of expansion. But in this matter the Conservatives cannot be regarded as completely blameless. The blame for the fact that there are not enough universities lies partly with them.

My hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East said that she felt that responsibility for the financial structure of the universities should lie with the Minister of Education rather than the Chancellor of the Exchequer. I agree. It would be wrong of me to talk about the famous academicians who comprise this famous committee—the University Grants Committee. I am sure that these people do some very good and necessary work, and I hope that they will remain in being as a body. But that does not mean that the system under which they have to operate is the right one. That Committee came into being about forty years ago, when it was handling roughly £2 million. Now it is handling about £70 million.

Its members are appointed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who no doubt seeks the guidance of the Minister of Education when he is making appointments. The Committee's grant period lasts for five years. In view of the tremendous expansion that we hope will take place, it is clear that that period is too long. The Committee's job is to estimate—by visiting various universities about a year before the five-year period ends—and to assess, after consultation with the university authorities, the income and expenditure involved. The Committee then makes a consolidated recommendation to the Treasury and the Chancellor then announces what the Government will give.

I suggest that this is not a satisfactory method of financing the universities. Under the Minister of Education they would be more accountable to Parliamentary scrutiny, and the Minister would be responsible for financing all the universities. The Minister of Education should be responsible not only for the universities, but for teacher training colleges and colleges of advanced technology. I know that he is partly responsible now, but the whole thing should be co-ordinated. I say that not because I have any dogmatic brief for centralisation, but because I believe that this will be necessary. Such a system would work better than the present one.

I want to quote a paragraph from a speech by Mar. David W. Reece, president of the Association of University Teachers. This speech was delivered in May last year, but it is still applicable, and it sums up the feeling among many universities about the existing financial situation. Mr. Reece says: But for us in the universities there remains another question: is it possible to devise some means of financing the universities which will not place them completely at the mercy of the unimaginative and parsimonious spirit that periodically pervades the Treasury whenever it succumbs to one of its fits of financial pessimism? That was obviously written by a university-educated person. It could not be written by a miner. It bears out what I am saying, and what is the current view among many people in our universities.

In the same document there are some interesting facts with which I shall not weary the House. But I want to draw the attention of the Minister to some of these facts because they all seem to bear out the same thing, namely, that there is a feeling in the universities that they have not enough money or accommodation. Dealing with the year 1962, the document comments that for Leicester University student accommodation is a serious problem; for Liverpool University the comment is: Since increased building costs cannot be covered by the money available, there will be approximately six months' delay in the development of a new men's hostel… and for King's College the comment is: With no immediate increase in space available there can be little or no increase in student numbers. My hon. Friend quoted Sir Douglas Logan, who talked along similar lines. The Government cannot say that everything in the garden is rosy. I have no doubt that the Minister has read the document from which I have quoted. He will see from it that each university makes practically the same complaint.

I want to say something about the University of Lancaster of whose Executive Committee I am a member. Here planning has paid. The hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South, who has now left the Chamber, said that he was against large universities. It is interesting to note that Lancaster University is planning for an intake of 10,000 students at the end of the century. That is very wise planning. By 1972 or 1973 it plans to take in 3,000 students and if accommodation is available it hopes to start in October, 1964, with 200 students.

This is very wise and sensible planning, which will prove to be justified in the longrun. One of its first academic appointments has been a research fellow in university teaching methods. These are very important points, because they reflect what I regard as a forward-looking outlook in the planning of a university which will play a great part in the life of the population not only in the North-West but in the country as a whole. We are fortunate in having C. F. Carter as a vice-chancellor. He is a man of great foresight and ability. I suggest to the Minister that there is nothing wrong in raising our sights high, and I regard an eventual total of 10,000 students for Lancaster University as the right idea.

I do not wish to say much about the teacher training colleges. It has been said that we shall need 100,000 more teachers by 1970. This will depend on whether the provisions in the 1944 Act are to be implemented in full and the size of classes reduced. It will depend also on the birth rate and the bulge, and whether the school-leaving age is to be raised to 16. If all these things happen, including a rise in the birth rate, it may well be that we shall need 100,000 more teachers by 1970. It would be interesting to know the Minister's priorities and whether he would propose to raise the school-leaving age to 16 before reducing the size of classes. All these things will have some bearing on the number of teachers required.

I agree with the proposal of my hon. Friend and others regarding the colleges of advanced technology—which is outlined in "The Years of Crisis"—that existing colleges should become full universities or university institutions. I wish to say something about the general financial structure of higher education apart from the financial structure of universities. I believe that the time is coming when the Government will have to take a long look at the whole financial structure of higher education in relation to the racing system. I believe that a start might be made if the whole of higher education—the universities, teacher training colleges and all colleges of higher education—could be taken completely out of the framework of local rates and be financed by means of some central fund by the Ministry of Education.

At present, education is the local government service which makes the greatest demand on the rates, and as the number of teacher training colleges increases the rates are likely to increase. I believe that the time is coming—particularly in view of the Government's rating revaluation schemes—when they must look at this matter.

Quite apart from the centralised system of finance—as I said before, I am not a dogmatic centraliser—I believe that for administrative purposes, also, a central administrative scheme is probably better—not altogether, but in many cases—than local authority control. I do not wish to be misunderstood about this. I believe that local authorities should have a say on the subject of teacher training colleges and every form of higher education.

If a teacher lives in Wigan he goes to a training college in Nottingham. The Nottingham-Derby-Leicester area is—if I may use the term—"congested"with teacher training colleges, so it is difficult to get places in local schools in that area for many students so that they may obtain teacher practice. This is due to the great number of training colleges in the vicinity, so some central form of administration is needed for that reason as much as from the financial viewpoint. It is interesting to note that at its annual conference the National Federation of Parent-Teachers called for a greater degree of central financing.

I have merely touched on a very important subject. I have spoken as a layman and in no way as an expert. But I have always been interested in education and I have served as a governor and school manager and in other capacities. There is a small minority which has overlooked facts about our civilisation, not only the civilisation of this country but of Western Europe and America, I say it in no party or partisan sense, but, North America is, in the main, peopled by the descendants of those who came originally from Europe and in many respects they are Europeans.

We are inclined to forget that most of the great scientific breaks-through, if I may use that term, and most of the breaks-through in art—if one may use the term in relation to art and literature—have occurred in the Western world. Rocketry, now being developed by the Russians, originated in the Western world. The discovery of steam, which revolutionised industry, and of atomic energy came from the Western world. We are inclined to forget how much we owe to what is commonly described as the civilisation of the West.

It is because we owe so much to Western civilisation that I want to see this country play a major part in ensuring that that civilisation will contribute as much to the future as it has to the past. In order that that may take place there are all sorts of things which should take priority within our system of higher education. I will mention only two—the training of more women teachers in mathematics and the teaching of languages. There is a shortage of women mathematics teachers, particularly in the girls' schools. And if we are to compete successfully from the economic angle in Europe and elsewhere we should train our people to speak other languages than our own. A salesman is far more likely to sell successfully to the French and the Germans if he can speak their language. We must concentrate upon these things.

I hope that during the next few weeks we shall have a nuclear test ban agreement which will lead to a general disarmament conference. Those who are interested in higher education say that education should be the first priority. Others say that housing should be given priority. But until we settle some of the great international questions we cannot give the right priority to these things. I hope sincerely that as a result of what is taking place in Moscow, and what may happen elsewhere, we shall achieve an international peace and stability which, for the first time for many decades, will allow us to put higher education and education generally as the No. 1 priority.

8.0 p.m.

Mr. W. R. van Straubenzee (Wokingham)

The horn. Member for Wigan (Mr. Fitch) ended his speech with a verymoving affirmation of his faith in the past contributions of this country and Western Europe generally in many important fields of thought and endeavour. I am very glad that he coupled that with an equally fervent profession of his belief that we have a major contribution to make in the future.

Leaving aside altogether for a moment the much deeper results and qualities of education as such, which in a highly specialised and technical world it seems we tend to overlook, it may be remembered that in a small island such as ours with very much diminished overseas resources it will be by a very intensive and intelligent training of our skills and brains that we shall survive at all. That in part is what this debate is about. I join with those who say that it is a shade unrealistic. It is a shade unrealistic because a great deal of our discussion has centred around the universities and higher education generally, and so much of that in turn sits under an expectant cloud at the moment.

I thought we had a service done to us by the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) who, with his specialist knowledge of technical education, reminded us of the very considerable contributions made by technical education generally in higher education as a whole. It seems that so often we tend, and certainly our young people tend, to regard a place at a university as the be-all and end-all, whereas increasingly, as the hon. Member reminded us, certainly the colleges of advanced technology, and indeed many technical colleges, are providing for young people at least as wide a course and opportunity as many universities. It will, I hope, be one of the results of the Robbins Committee's report that we shall see how better to gear this effort into the whole of higher education and spread their influence the more.

Mr. Ellis Smith (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

It is taking a long while to do it.

Mr. van Straubenzee

I am not so pessimistic as the hon. Member.

Mr. Ellis Smith

I am not pessimistic.

Mr. van Straubenzee

The first question I ask the House is one which I put forward with a certain amount of diffidence because in putting it I am conscious that one is liable to be completely misunderstood. I have had an enormous interest in the last year in visiting very nearly all the English universities, although I must make clear that in some cases it was a short visit. I have a horror of the man who touches down at Delhi Airport for two days and becomes an "expert" on India. I came away from some of those universities, however, with a grave doubt in my mind as to whether we politicians—on both sides of the House—were not pushing the academics too fast and whether we are not as politicians on both sides of the House becoming obsessed with numbers.

In part this is the price one pays for a party system from which in every other respect we gain enormous benefit. On the one side, a Government of any colour are under constant pressure from an Opposition of any colour to increase numbers, to be able to show in the statistics which come out at the end of the year from the University Grants Committee that there is a constantly sliding graph. It is in the nature of party politics for party A to say that the money it will make available is X and for party B to say that it ought to be Y. I came from some of those universities feeling that we were not creating universities at all but places where men and women went to lectures and led a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. existence with a bit of reading, quick writing in the library if one could get in, and then home. In one case in the North that will be 20 or 30 miles.

I know that this is a highly contentious matter. On one hand, there is the school of thought exemplified by Sir John Wolfenden at Reading and by Lord James at the projected York University. It is projected that at York the whole student body shall be in residence. Sir John Wolfenden, who is a most successful Vice-Chancellor of Reading University—we view his departure with the greatest possible regret—has consistently refused to put money into projects such as a students' union if he can in other ways channel the money into accommodation in which students can live.

I found one of the most interesting features in the latest report of the University Grants Committee—that part which showed the proportion of students in residence. It varies very considerably from university to university. There are universities which go primarily for the places where lectures are given and tutorials take place or where students can undertake the very welcome activity normally associated with a Union. If I found myself suddenly in charge I should be sorely tempted to incur a great deal of public criticism—and much public public criticism there would be—by slowing down the expansion programme in order to make sure that what I was constructing were universities.

If, for example, one is fortunate enough to spend some time in the remarkable atmosphere of the University of Durham, which the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) knows so well, granted its age, granted its traditions, one finds a residential atmosphere far removed from others which one could enumerate, and which I do not name because one feels that it would be taken as a criticism of the work they are trying to do. This isone of the problems of dividing that great university. I think 1st August is the date when Newcastle will start on its way, although I think Newcastle has more than half the students of the university as a whole.

I should prefer to see us slanting our resources, and it is often a case of resources rather than money, into making sure that we are able to allow people a full breadth and full range of a university course which I do not believe can come if one has to commute, as in the case I quoted, 30 miles each way.

The second thing I have to ask myself, and this is not a popular thing to say, is whether we are not getting into the mentality that two A-levels entitle one to a place at university. The latest example of this was in an article I came across which many hon. Members may have read, headed, "Universities' Staff Shortage Grows" in a recent issue of The Times. It was a most interesting article, but even that authoritative article has this paragraph in it: In the last two years thousands of sixth-formers with at least the required minimum of two passes at A-level have been turned away from the universities. The inference is clear. Of course it is true that a very few years ago an A-level was a comparatively rare attainment, but in my constituency I can now think of secondary modern schools producing A-levels—just a few.

I welcome this. It is a wonderful development. This is the justification for those who have maintained for years—I have said this in the House before and it is not a contentious matter—that it shattered the snob argument that the Almighty created only a small percentage of people who could benefit from education. This has been blown to smithereens as much as anything by the work of the secondary modern schools. It will be observed that the people who advance this argument are always in their own judgment inside this very small segment chosen by the Almighty.

But if I have been right about this, then it may well be that we must face the fact that we have to increase our standards of entry into the universities. That is a question which I am asking myself. At a time when, I think, we are being successful in raising our standards—for I believe that the education service as a whole is turning out increasingly more intelligent and better equipped people—we must ask the question whether the standard which we have had previously for entry to university is sufficient. Are we right to condone, as we may by silence, the feeling which exists, "I have two A-levels. Therefore I am entitled to a place at a university. Therefore, if I do not get it I am in some way done down"?

I speak as one who would never have got within sniffing distance of an A-level, certainly not at modern standards. I certainly do not speak from the heights of superior intellectual attainment. Indeed, I wish that I did, for I should be very proud of it. But I am saying that we may very well have to raise the standards and not be content with them as they stand.

Many people have cast a fly today over the waters of Robbins, and I should like to cast three short flies. My hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby) expressed certain views on what he hoped would come out of Robbins. I hope that the Government will be careful not to rush this matter. For example, there were reports—they may have been quite ill-informed reports—in the Press that Lord Robbins had been sent for. I do not know the first thing about it, but I took this to mean that he had been asked to get a move on with his report. I can understand this. It has taken much longer than we all hoped. Each time we have had a target date, it has been extended. But this is probably—indeed, I would say certainly—the most important educational development since1944. This is the 1944 of higher education, and it is well worth taking time and trouble to prepare the ground and to get the facts. I hope that we shall not push Lord Robbins and his distinguished Committee too far so that they make a rush job of some part of their Report. From what one knows of their work, it is clear that they have gone to an enormous amount of trouble to get statistics from all parts of the world which, I am sure, will be immensely helpful.

The Minister of Education (Sir Edward Boyle)

It would not be right for me to comment on the fairly confidential discussions which some of us had with Lord Robbins at Admiralty House recently, but I assure my hon. Friend that Lord Robbins was not sent for in order to tell him to hurry up his report.

Mr. van Straubenzee

Then I have got a fish to my first fly, and I am grateful. It is a good thing that that should be made clear.

There are three points which I hope to see in the Robbins Report. The first has been mentioned, and I will touch on it only briefly. I hope that we shall see a new ministerial home for the universities. I differ, I think, from one or two of my hon. Friends in this matter. I do not join in the slightly foolish practice of sneering at the Treasury and Treasury civil servants. It is an easy thing to do. I suppose that they are probably the most distinguished set of public servants which any country has at its disposal. But I do not believe that, fundamentally and by outlook and temperament, they are the right Ministerial father-in-God for the universities. I hope that Lord Robbins will come forward with ideas as to how the universities should be moved.

This will be highly controversial in the universities. Many a common room will seethe with letters, and many will be written to The Times and elsewhere. But I believe that they will be wrong. I have a predilection towards seeing the universities within the Ministry of Education, perhaps partially because I was once lucky for a couple of years to be able to see a little bit inside its portals, and I have an enormous respect for its work and its potentialities, and perhaps even more for what it can contribute in the future if we do not inhibit it too much. I do not think that the administrative task is too great—I do not pretend to have sufficient information on this side—and I should like to feel, for reasons which I shall develop in a moment, that an enlarged Ministry of Education was the home to which they went. We must look closely at this matter and we shall welcome the highly thoughtful advice which I am sure we shall get. The point which I seek to make is merely that I think that the Treasury has had its day where the universities are concerned.

Secondly, I hope to see a considerable extension of degree-awarding bodies—this has been mentioned before—to the teacher training colleges. At a time when many men and women are doing three years in teacher training colleges, with very considerable courses, to differentiate between one institution and the other is no longer tolerable. I am well aware of the academic argument, and I know that, strictly speaking, a degree is awarded for a broadly based pattern of study extending over a whole range. A man's mind and a woman's mind are broadened over the whole range. But when I talk to many undergraduates at many universities, I do not have the feeling that that is the sort of course, which they are pursuing. With many scientists it is very narrowly specialised, and one would like very much to shake them out of it and to broaden them if only that were possible. But I am sure that there will be an extension of degree-awarding bodies. I hope that hon. Members will avoid the temptation, when that is done, to beat the drum and to say that we have made more universities. We shall have done nothing of the sort, but we may well have rationalised an untidy structure.

Thirdly, and perhaps most important, it has always seemed to me that from the primary to the secondary stage of education one broadly has a coherent flow. As a generalisation, the heads of various types of school at primary and secondary level in any area know each other personally or know the kind of course which is being followed. Thus we have a coherent whole of the two different types of education at different ages. But when one reaches the end of the secondary stage, at whatever age that may be, there is a gap. It is often a personal gap, as well as a total lack of knowledge of what is happening at the next stage. One may find that at the secondary modern and grammar schools they are unaware of the courses which are available at the next stage, unaware of who are the persons involved, unconscious of the necessity to be in touch with the courses which are provided. This, I think, is a very strong argument for having the whole in one all-embracing Ministry. I think that it has been a grave weakness of our higher education system as a whole that there is this gap at what I loosely call the secondary stage.

If there is any reason why I hope to be in the next House, if the legislation is not introduced before then, it is that I may take a part, albeit a small part, in the legislation which I am certain either party will introduce, not, I think, with any great differences, as a result of the report which we are to receive. For on its successful implementation may well depend the whole pattern of our higher educational system, and it may well have as fundamental an effect upon us as a nation as did the remarkable work which our predecessors did, culminating in 1944.

8.19 p.m.

Mr. Donald Wade (Huddersfield, West)

The hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee) referred to the A-level examination. I will refer to that subject later. Owing to shortage of time I shall compress what I had intended to say.

At the conclusion of his speech, the Chief Secretary spoke of the importance of maintaining the independence of the universities. I agree with that. I also agree that some countries are rather less fortunate than our own in this respect. I remember very well comparing notes, many years ago, with a post-graduate student from Portugal who was studying in this country. It was not long after I had ceased to be a student. He expressed some surprise at the degree of independence of our own universities, particularly as regards politics. He even expressed surprise that there were some members of our universities who supported the Government of the day. He noted that they were permitted a con- siderable amount of freedom. The conversation arose out of the fact that his own university had been closed owing to having persistently criticised the Government.

Independence is important not only in the political field. Surely we all agree that it must be carefully safeguarded. But, indirectly, the policy and planning of the university authorities are affected by the finance available and, therefore, by the actions of the Treasury. My first plea is for consistency in Treasury policy. It should not be interrupted periodically by financial crises as has so often happened with programmes of development, not only in education. In other words, to use the phrase of the hon. Member for Holborn and St. Pancras, South (Mr. G. Johnson Smith), there should not be this chopping and changing about, because it can do untold harm. It has undoubtedly done harm.

In March, 1962, the Treasury imposed cuts in the University Grants Committee's estimates of the financial needs of the universities. The £16 million increase which is to be given to the universities over the next four years surely brings the grants up to the level recommended by the University Grants Committee a year ago. The increase is likely to prevent the universities from having to cut back their plans to take more students, but I believe that their programme to expand research will be restricted. In addition, ground has been lost in the first year of the current quinquennium. There was an unexpectedly small increase in the intake of first-year students in October last year.

That leads me in this very brief speech to the question of the number of students in higher education. Comparisons with other countries are interesting. One could go on indefinitely talking about numbers as against quality and other aspects of education. I do not think that there are any grounds for self-satisfaction. After all, the total number of students in higher education of all kinds is only 7 per cent. of the 18 to 21 age group. There is a colossal bottle-neck in those of the age of 18-plus.

I will not trouble the House with the figures, but they show dramatically the effects of sixth form growth and the slowing down of university expansion as existing universities reach bursting point on their under-capitalised resources. The contributions of the seven new universities to the expansion of places will be felt only after the present bulge has passed out of higher education.

Therefore, we are faced with these great pressures. Even granting that the pressures are inevitable at present, there seems to be some evidence that they are badly distributed. The bias in grammar schools against applied science would seem to account for the vacant places in the engineering faculties. From my own observations, and from what I have learned, there appear to be some vacancies in the engineering faculties in the universities. I should be interested to know whether this is so. I am not arguing the pros and cons of technical colleges as against universities. I should be the last to do that, as I represent a borough which has one of the finest technical colleges in the country. However, there is a lack of balance in the intake into universities.

As to university staff, I have discussed the subject of salaries and staff frustrations on many occasions. There was a time when I was a member of the staff of a university, so I have some sympathy for their difficulties. It is not only a question of salary. There are some who have a feeling almost of despair when they see staff going overseas, particularly to America, and thus greatly increasing the difficulties of those who remain. We must consider all the possibilities of increasing the supply.

I return to the subject of research. It is all very well to joke about research. Some research is undoubtedly more valuable than other. In teaching generally there is the old crack that one teaches Greek so that others may be able to learn Greek to teach others to learn Greek. The same expression could be applied to research, but it is important. There is practical importance in research in that it helps to build up the supply for university teaching.

One of the indirect consequences of cutting down on the availability of places for research is to reduce the numbers that might otherwise have gone into the teaching profession in the universities and who are, therefore, lost to education altogether. For this reason, apart from others, research is important.

I come to the A-level examination. Was it ever intended that the A-level should be a test for university entrance? It has had, and is having, a cramping effect on secondary school work at A-level. It was never intended to be primarily a test for entrance to universities. It is affecting the whole pattern of education. It was never so intended.

That is just one example of the distortions which are created and will continue so long as we have these shortages in universities and these great pressures. We shall never get over our difficulties until there is a more even balance between those who are willing, anxious and able to go to a university and the places available for them.

8.27 p.m.

Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)

I appreciate the assistance of the hon. Member for Huddersfield, West (Mr. Wade), and that he has spoken under some difficulty to enable us to wind up the debate in the customary manner.

I am sorry that the Chief Secretary to the Treasury has not yet rejoined us, because I wanted to remind him that some time ago, when I was debating with him, he complained that I almost blasted him off the Front Bench. I had intended to console him by saying that now I think we can leave that to the wind of change which will sweep away all right hon. Gentleman from the Front Bench opposite before long.

First, I should like, I am sure on behalf of everyone in the House, to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees)on his first-class introduction to the many contributions which I am sure he will make to debates on education. It is appropriate that my hon. Friend should have chosen today to have made his maiden speech, because on the last occasion that we debated higher education, Hugh Gaitskell and I spoke from the Opposition Front Bench. I say with sincerity to my hon. Friend that he is a very worthy successor to Hugh Gaitskell.

We are today discussing two inescapably crucial problems. The first is simply that higher education is completely inadequate in this country. I emphasise this by recalling some of the things Hugh Gaitskell said when we debated universities last Session. He called in aid the U.N.E.S.C.O. figures and those of the German Advisory Council for Higher Education—and none of these has been disputed. The important thing about these figures is that they demonstrate not only that we are lagging far behind the United States and the Soviet Union, but that we are far behind most other comparable countries.

In France, Austria, Sweden and Switzerland, for example, there is twice the provision for university education as there is in Britain. In Belgium, Italy, Germany and Holland there is nearly twice the provision. In the United States one in four young people can expect to receive university education, and I believe that a similar figure can be applied to Japan. For Canada the figure is one in nine, Australia one in nine, France one in 10, Russia one in 12, and in Britain it is about one in 24.

I remind the House of what I said when we discussed education recently; that a child in the United States has three times the opportunity of going to university as a child in this country has of going into the sixth form. I call in aid another illustration from the voluminous brief I have on the subject of higher education. The American has a higher probability of getting a Ph.D than the Briton has of getting a first degree. I could also call in aid the remarks of the present Minister of Education's predecessor. An impeccable source is His Royal Highness Prince Philip, who has played a leading part in calling our attention to the needs of this country in this sphere. He has said that the U.N.E.S.C.O. estimates show that the number of British university students per million of the population is the lowest in Europe and that no other country expects its students to graduate in three years.

These are disquieting figures and, unfortunately, it is not only the fact, as Lord Eccles has said, that we compare unfavourably with every other highly industrialised country, but that the position is getting worse. My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East (Mr. Crossman) spoke on Monday of the analogy of science and sport. In sporting terms, we discover that we are not only being lapped by the giants—Russia and America—but also by comparable Powers.

The Minister told us that we have 116,000 students in our universities, that we can expect to have 150,000 by 1966–67 and 170,000 by 1973–74. This means that in twelve years' time we will be in the position that West Germany is in today. Where will West Germany be by then? She will have lapped us again—and France is ahead of West Germany. The right hon. Gentleman spoke in terms of about 116,000 students. France has increased her numbers in universities by 100,000 over the past ten years. It is because of that that France is now saying that her present university population of 237,000 will be doubled—not within ten years but within six. By 1969 France will have half a million of her young people in universities.

It is against this background—again to recall the debate on Monday, because these are complementary debates—that we have the "brain drain". The Royal Society has shown that whereas ten years ago we were losing 4 per cent, of our scarce Ph.D.s, we are now losing—as we have in the last three or four years—a steady 7 per cent. In our last debate on universities we discussed the 75 distinguished physicists now in the United States. Among the voluminous evidence before the Government on this subject I call in aid the evidence which the Institute of Physics and Physical Society gave to the Robbins Committee.

This is what they said: For the first time in our scientific history conditions in British universities are failing to attract physicists of the front rank. Unless this situation is changed, urgently, university education in physics in Britain must be seriously restricted in either quantity or quality. If qualify should suffer more than has already happened, many of the existing staffs would leave the universities. Unfortunately, the position has got worse since that evidence was given.

It is not only the universities that are affected. The comparison is even worse in technology. Proportionately to the population, the Americans have three times the technologists that we have and the Russians have five times as many. We are not specifically debating teachers, but we know that the position in the primary schools now is appalling, and will be later also in the secondary schools. There is a desperate shortage of teachers. This is the first problem, yet so far from the Government benches we have had only the complacent, smug speech of the Chief Secretary—as complacent and smug as was that of his predecessor last Session.

The second problem is related, but distinct and separate. It is the problem of the bulge now leaving the schools and going into higher education. This was predictable, it was known for a long time, and now it is happening. Although I worked out my own figures, I accept those given by the right hon. Gentleman—he has better resources than I have. They show that the bulge is now moving into high education. Next year, 150,000 more young people will reach the age of 18 than will reach it this year, and in 1965 nearly a quarter of a million more young people will reach it. Putting it another way, in 1955 there were 1½ million young people between 18 and 21; in 1966 there will be 2,400,000—very nearly 1 million more.

The right hon. Gentleman told us nothing about what is being done, yet this is a desperate problem. In addition, we have this revolution in rising expectation; this revolution in young people winning for themselves the qualification to take a university or higher education. Yet we have the right hon. Gentleman, as I also told his predecessor, stoking up the fires in the secondary schools and then, with his not inconsiderable weight, clamping down on the pressure so that those who have won the qualification are denied the opportunity of university and higher education. Even the right hon. Gentleman could not conceal that this inadequate proportion, that will not bear comparison with that of any other industrialised country, will have become even less over the next few years—

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

If the hon. Gentleman followed my speech, he will recall that I said, with the exception of a 0.04 downward trend in one year, the process was the exact opposite.

Mr. Willey

I am taking the right hon. Gentleman's figure of 0.04 downward trend as a downward trend, but I do not accept his figure, any more than Sir Keith Murray accepted the figures given by the right hon. Gentleman's predecessor in a previous debate. The figures available show a much more marked downward trend, at least for a year or two.

Let us look at the numbers. Let us take the figures produced by the A.U.T. of last year's entrants to the universities. The A.U.T. surveyed 1,362 sixth forms, and found that very nearly 5,500 sixth formers who had qualified for and had applied to go to university were denied admission. The Universities Central Council on Admissions has issued more concrete and comprehensive figures this year. We know that 50,000 young people applied. We know that they would be qualified to apply, and advised to do so by their headmasters. To them, we have to add the applicants from overseas and the Commonwealth. For them all, 27,000 places were available.

We know that the A.U.T. estimates that in 1970, the end of the Government's target, there will be 40,000 young people fully qualified but unable to obtain a place in a university. Sir Eric Ashby confirmed that this week by saying that one out of two of the young people who qualify for places will be denied them. This is the immediate problem. This is what we ought to have been told about, but we have; had no word, only obscure figures and complacency.

These two problems are inter-related and interdependent. We shall not have a response from the universities and the institutions of higher education unless they are convinced that the Government have a generous long-term plan, and that is what we have not had. We are still waiting for Robbins. We had a Government plan in 1956,in 1958, in 1960, and in 1962, but the whole time we have had uncertainty about the future because when the Government anticipated that we would have, as I have said previously in the House, an 18-plus crisis which would equal and even pale the 11-plus crisis, they set up the Robbins Committee. Robbins has been their alibi.

There is worse than that. We had the unprecedented position last year that there was an open breach between the Government and the U.G.C., which stated publicly that the Government's target would not be reached. It is true, as the Chief Secretary has told us, that we have had an increase in capital grants of 20 per cent., but let the right hon. Gentleman answer Sir William Mansfield Cooper. The time that is lost has been lost. Sir William says: …it is now too late to cope, and thousands of young people will be denied university education to which they looked forward and which they have been led to expect would be available. Let the right hon. Gentleman smugly answer those young people who have been denied university education.

This is ground which has been lost and cannot be recovered. It has affected the pace of this emergency operation. The right hon. Gentleman has done no more than make an allowance for increased costs, and even the Economist has said sourly that we are still in 1961. All that the right hon. Gentleman has done has been to restore the allocation made in 1961.

In a way, as hon. Members on both sides of the House have said, it is unfortunate that we are building new universities, because this is the least efficient use of new resources. We cannot complain of it, no more than we can complain of the three-year course in the training colleges, but we can say that the Government have been in office since 1951 and that this ought to have been done five or ten years ago. We cannot complain now of waiting for Robbins, but we ought to deny the Government the alibi which they seek. We are concerned about an emergency operation to provide places for young people who otherwise will be denied them.

In a situation like this I should have thought that personal relations between the Government and those engaged in higher education were most important. These relations have never before been in the state they are in now. We have never before had vice-chancellors stigmatising and criticising the Government, and men of the calibre of Sir William Mansfield Cooper, Sir Douglas Logan, and even Sir Keith Murray openly criticising the Government.

This is what is said in a letter I received from a spokesman of one of our universities: I should like to emphasise that I, and the overwhelming majority of my colleagues, dislike intensely the necessity for carrying on this sort of semi-political activity; we have no wish to see the universities become the subject of contention in by-election or in General Election party programmes, and it is only the mood of frustration and bitterness induced by the Treasury's attitude during the past 18 months that impels us to do it. We believe that the Government's present policy is short-sighted and ill-advised; if it is persisted in it may become disastrous; and it is for this reason that we condemn it. We should condemn and deplore it with equal vigour whatever the political complexion of the Government responsible for it. This was written after the increase which the Government gave.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

When was this?

Mr. Willey

In November last, after the 20 per cent. increase. This was written by a scholar who, I know, has no sympathy for the Labour Party.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

That was before the current grant.

Mr. Willey

The writer begins his letter by referring to the 20 per cent. increase in Treasury allocation.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

It was before the announcement that I made about increases in the current grant, and two announcements that I made about increases in capital grants.

Mr. Willey

I can follow up with further correspondence if necessary. [Laughter.] What is the point of being so smugly conceited and self-satisfied about this? I can produce a file of correspondence. I am still corresponding with members of universities who are saying that the right hon. Gentleman, like his predecessor, has no sympathy for the difficulties that the universities are now undergoing.

Turning to the teachers, we have had the Minister of Education's intervention and his threat to Burnham. We have got exactly the same atmosphere; we have bitter, antagonistic personal relations such as never before obtained between the teaching profession and the Government. This has now been translated to the colleges of advanced technology. The A.U.T. has denounced the right hon. Gentleman's negotiations as unsatisfactory, unjust, unworthy, deplorable and disgraceful. The A.T.T.I. has indulged in similar language. How can one have an emergency programme calling for the best from the universities and institutions of higher education if we have got this relationship between the Minister and those on whom he is calling to do their best to take more and more young people?

Mr. A. E. Cooper (Ilford, South) rose

Mr. Willey

I cannot give way. I promised to give the Minister time to wind up the debate.

We are dealing with this emergency problem. We are dealing with teaching accommodation, student accommodation and teachers. These matters raise great difficulties. I give credit to the right hon. Gentleman for what he has done in respect of the training colleges—too late, but he has made a substantial achievement in getting increased numbers. What he has not done is to honour his obligation to the training colleges. There is grave disappointment in the training colleges that many have not had the schemes approved that they expected to be approved for this coming September. They also know that £7 million is not enough to mount a programme for 80,000 students in the training colleges.

Coming back to the teachers, this is the heart of the problem. I can produce letters of resentment at the action that the right hon. Gentleman took without consultation. We cannot get the response that we need in this situation unless we play fair, unless we play the game with the people concerned. The Government have not done that. It is in this field where, if we are to tackle this as an emergency problem, the scope and opportunity lie. This is where the Government have sacrificed their opportunities. A great deal could be done not only in establishing better relations with the teaching staffs, but in appreciating the difficulties.

My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East, for example, mentioned the promotion ladder the other day. A good deal could be done there. We could learn a lot from America about assistant and associate professorships. We could learn a lot from Holland and Germany about bringing in part-time teachers. Instead of that, we have no initiative and a position in which there are vacancies not only in the universitites, but in the colleges of advanced technology, too. The latest figures that I was given were that in the C.A.T.s, for principal lecturers, there were 42 vacancies and that for readerships the position was even worse—50 per cent. of the places were not filled.

When we talk about the quality of education, quality will be impaired by reorganisation through lack of funds rather than asking people to do their utmost and providing them with the resources. I am convinced of this. What disappointed me about the smug, complacent speech of the right hon. Gentleman the Chief Secretary was that he said nothing about these problems. He smugly talked about wastage. We can pay tribute to the record of British universities about wastage, but a lot more could be done.

Let the right hon. Gentleman look at Mr. Mallinson's paper, which was put to Robbins, on the research that is being carried out. This would help. We could make a more effective use of the present accommodation. If we could—this is the heart and kernel of the problem—only get the good will, and show that we were being fair to the staffs in the universities and other institutions of higher education, we could make a much more effective use of present staffs.

It is not an easy problem. It depends very largely on good relations. I was very disturbed, as I am sure everyone would be disturbed, by the report on the use of vacations by students. Even The Times Educational Supplement said that this reveals a "fundamentally unserious society". I followed with great interest the figures the right hon. Gentleman gave of student-staff ratios, and I would remind him that when his predecessor gave the figures they were later discounted by Sir Keith Murray. I would have liked a constructive approach to these figures.

There was an interesting article in The Times Educational Supplement not very long ago. What did it show? If we took the pre-war student-staff ratio and applied it today, we could have 33,800 more students in the universities. My hon. Friend the Member for Coventry, East talked about the attraction of research to the teaching staff in the universities in the United States. If we had the same ratio as that in the United States we could have 36,000 more students in the universities. If we applied throughout the universities the student-staff ratio of Glasgow University we could have 26,000 more. If we applied the student-staff ratio applying in Cambridge University throughout the British universities we could get 20,600 more students in the universities.

I concede at once that providing university places is not simply a matter of arithmetic. One has to look beyond the figures. But this ought to have been done. With the present hostility between the Government and the universities this is impossible. With good will and enthusiasm I am quite sure that more effective use could be made of our resources.

Research was mentioned. Of course, research is important if we are to attract more staff to the British universities; it is important if we are to call upon the staff of universities to provide more teaching time. But this is essentially a question of attitude. Whenever I have gone to a university I have been struck by the quite proper regard and concern about research, and the best thing to do is generously to help those conducting research at the universities to rid them of this time-consuming begging for aid towards research. If we want a better response from the universities let us do this. This debate as it so happens has concentrated on the universities, but this applies to the other institutions of higher education.

The colleges of advanced technology present a very big problem. It is merely a social and psychological problem. We must, as someone said, tackle it in the sixth forms and see that we have a better understanding of our national needs and a better understanding of technology. We shall not get it from the present Government because they are far too conservative about these things.

It may well be, as Dr. Bowden has said, that this country's gravest shortage, graver than the shortage of graduates, is the shortage of technologists. I will give an illustration. In the debate on Monday, there was a reference to machine tools. Here I call in aid Dr. Bowden. This is what he said recently: A hundred years ago we supplied the world.…We now import four times as many tools from West Germany as we sell there.…We have allowed ourselves to become dependent on our industrial competitors for the very machines in our own factories. What is the position in the world of technology? We have in Manchester the only professor of machine tool design in this country. Of course, there is an equation between the provision we make in technology and the shortage of machine tools.

There have been references to the Summerson Report on Art and Design. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I appreciate his difficulty, but what disturbs me is that he has not shown any initiative or vigour in tackling the inadequate provision for higher education in art. He ought to be tackling it, but he has shown no purposefulness whatever.

I have been able to deal with only a few of the problems. Wherever one looks, one is disturbed, as one has been disturbed today, by the smug complacency, the statistical complacency, of the right hon. Gentleman and his colleagues. In conclusion, I call in aid the opening words of Sir Charles Snow in his Richmond Lecture, and I echo them: We are in a mess about education, or, rather, we have let ourselves settle into a pattern so crystallised that it will be preposterously hard to break. Unless we break it soon—and I mean to years, not decades—we shall slide into a genteel decline. To break it is going to mean sacrifice. It is going to mean the sacrifice of money, which will have to go quite deep into our society, of privilege, of intellectual comfort, of self-esteem. I agree with Sir Eric Ashby, who said, by implication, that this is a matter of politics. It is, as he said, a matter of social philosophy. Either we have a Government who accept the present fissures which divide society, either we have Ministers—the Chief Secretary displayed this attitude today—whobelieve in a favoured élite, either we have an unambitious Government who are not prepared to do everything they can to meet the desperate shortage, or we have a Government who are prepared to face the consequences of calling for a massive expansion, for an investment in national survival, and, more than that, an investment which will be designed to create a new society.

Sir Charles Snow, having begun so gloomily, concluded by optimistically saying that he believed that we have the will and the daring to remould our education to the needs of a living society". I believe that the will and daring will be the major characteristics of the next Government.

8.59 p.m.

The Minister of Education (Sir Edward Boyle)

I begin with one matter on which the whole House will be agreed. I congratulate the hon. Member for Leeds, South (Mr. Merlyn Rees) on his outstanding speech this afternoon. It so happens that, when I made my maiden speech in the House, I was most generously—indeed, far too generously—congratulated by Mr. Hugh Gaitskell at the close of the debate. I most sincerely congratulate the hon. Gentleman, and I can only endorse what was said by my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby) and say how deeply I regret that Mr. Hugh Gaitskell could not himself have heard the speech.

There were two points in particular which the hon. Member made which would have struck a particularly responsive chord in his predecessor. The first was his reference to what he called the reservoir of ability which he still believed existed, and the second, which impressed me particularly, was his reference to the importance of higher education, not only because it was useful. I thought that the hon. Member made an exceptionally thoughtful and civilised speech and I for one look forward greatly to hearing him speak on other occasions.

Having said that, I am afraid that I must speak rather less kindly of the speech of the hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey), particularly on one point. The hon. Memberwill realise that it sometimes happens in this Chamber that one has to make a rather different comment on two speeches. I must say to the hon. Gentleman that his vocabularly is not always very wide, but, if not rich in ideas, his pockets appear to be welllined with the small change of personal discourtesy. I thought that the hon. Member fell below the normal form in these debates in what he said to my right hon. Friend the Chief Secretary about the universities. The letter which he quoted was written last November, before my right hon. Friend announced further increases in the university building programme, both for next year and the year after, and before my right hon. Friend made his statement in the House on 9th May about quinquennial grants.

This is what I wish to say to the hon. Member. It is not fair to quote the University Grants Committee when it supports his case but not when it does not support his case. If he will look at my right hon. Friend's statement on 9th May, he will see that, having announced that the grants would be increased by £16 million, spread over four years, my right hon. Friend said: The University Grants Committee advise me that in their view, provided there is no further significant increase in university costs…the grants which I have just announced should enable universities to reach the student target of 150,000 by 1966–67."—[Official Report, 9th May, 1963; Vol. 677, c. 661.] To suggest that there is continued hostility between the University Grants Committee and my right hon. Friend on this point simply is not true.

Mr. Willey

May I make one point, because I was very careful in quoting this correspondence? I visited the university after all the events to which the right hon. Gentleman referred. I met the scholar who wrote to me. He expressed his views much more indignantly and violently in language which I would not repeat in this Chamber and he expressed his views publicly at a meeting held at his university.

Sir E. Boyle

I do not suggest that the scholar concerned had necessarily changed his views, but I defy any hon. Member who listened to the hon. Gentleman's speech to say that he did not get the impression from it that the scholar whom he quoted was representative of opinion generally on the University Grants Committee. That was the impression which it created and therefore I thought it important to make it clear that the Committee and my right hon. Friend were in agreement about his statement on 9th May.

There is no doubt about the importance of the subject that we are debating. There are two reasons why it must be right that; we as a nation should give high priority to higher education. First, we must remember that within the next three or four years the children born in the peak age groups after the war will be rapidly expanding the sixth forms of our grammar schools and clamouring for admission to the universities and other institutions of higher education.

It is not just that the age groups themselves are larger. As has been said, there has been a steady and welcome tendency year by year for a higher proportion of each group to stay at school and tackle a sixth form course. It is these two factors—what we know as the bulge and the trend—which are likely by 1966 to have doubled, the numbers leaving the sixth forms with the minimum qualifications for university entry compared with 1958.

Of course, there is yet one more factor in the situation—and I think that on this point I will have the support of the hon. Member for Leeds, South—the growing numbers of boys and girls in the schools who, though they may not achieve particularly high qualifications in terms of A level, could, none the less, profit very greatly from the right type of full-time course after leaving school. The natural desire of intelligent young people to develop their talents to the full is being reinforced more and more by their recognition that the complexities of the sort of technological society of today demand skills and understanding that are far beyond the power of the schools to develop. All these considerations constitute the first reason why higher education and its expansion are so important.

A second reason, however, why we need to give a high priority to higher education is that an expansion of higher education, especially higher technological education, must clearly be one precondition not only of an expanding economy but also of achieving the sort of society that we all want to see. It is, of course, the rate of expansion of our economy and our competitive power in world markets which will determine not only our standard of living but also the amount that we can afford to spend on the development of the social services and of all those cultural amenities which will make the country a more agreeable and civilised place in which to live. For all these reasons, it is obviously right that despite the pressing claims of a rising school population, higher education should be the main expansionary force in education.

Higher education is the main expansionary force whether one considers educational building or total expenditure on higher education. The figures which I am about to quote bear this out clearly. First, educational building. If we take building starts for further education, including the colleges of advanced technology, teacher training and the universities, the total figure for 1959–60, the first year of the present Parliament, was £26.4 million. During the present year, 1963–64, however, the figure for building starts for higher education will not be £26.4 million but exactly double—£52.8 million—and it will be higher again next year at £61.3 million.

In reply to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North, there is nothing obscure about those figures. The hon. Member seems to regard any statistics as obscure if they are not unfavourable. In fact, the benefit of the difference between £26.4 million at the start of the present Parliament and an annual rate of £52.8 million this year and a higher rate still next year will not be fully felt until two or three years' time.

In the case of total expenditure on higher education, the rate of increase and indeed, the absolute amount of increase, is much more striking. Again, I take the year that straddled this Parliament and the previous one—1959–60. In that year, the total current cost of higher education, including Scotland, was approximately £120 million. Taking the five years 1962–63 to 1966–67, the present university quinquennium, if one adds together the figure of £760 million for public expenditure on university education—the figure given by my right hon. Friend in his statement of 9th May—a sum of well over £200 million for teacher training and the total cost of all advanced work in the technical colleges, it is clear that public expenditure on higher education over this five-year period will total between £1,350 million and £1,400 million, which means an annual rate not of £120 million but of something like £275 million. In other words, within the lifetime of a single Parliament we shall have more than doubled the annual rate of expenditure on higher education from £120 million to approximately £275 million.

I believe that people simply have not as yet realised the massive scale of this increase. Therefore, while I hope that the words which I have just used show that we realise strongly the problems of the schools from the pressure for university entry, none the less we should bear in mind the striking rates of increase which we have already had in this Parliament and to which we are committed for the future.

Mrs. White

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that the year he has chosen as a base line was a year in which so little was spent, for example, on teacher training college expansion, that it is very easy to show remarkable progress?

Sir E. Boyle

The hon. Lady is not quite right about the teacher training. The expansion in numbers in the colleges had already started by then, and, indeed, the university figures were also rising. If I had wanted to quote dramatic figures I would have taken 1956, but that would not have been quite fair. I think that the measure of progress in one Parliament is a fair one to take.

I want to say something about the technical colleges and the teacher training colleges. While it is natural that in this debate we should have concentrated mainly on the universities, my right hon. Friend showed clearly that a rising proportion of the university age group had been receiving higher education in technical colleges and training colleges, but before I turn to the technical colleges I want to answer one or two detailed points.

The hon. Lady raised a very fair point about the Diploma in Art and Design. She referred to students on this diploma course who, provided they held the necessary qualifications, benefit from the compulsory major award. This is not true of the National Diploma in Design. What about students who have failed to get the diploma course and have had to fall back on the N.D.D.?

This is a matter of discretion for the local education authorities, but I am prepared to say that I hope that they will deal as sympathetically as possible with students who have failed to find places in diploma courses after having completed successfully their pre-diploma year.

Mrs. Harriet Slater (Stoke-on-Trent, North)

It is all very well for the Minister to throw the burden back on the local authorities. What is he going to do about students who have been disappointed because they cannot find a place to take their diploma course?

Sir E. Boyle

This is a matter in which the local authorities have discretion, but I do not think that they will all use it unfairly. Some people have said that we should have put this matter off for another year. We considered that but concluded that it would have been hard on those who have been able to get through.

I want now to turn to the technical colleges. Obviously, the output of scientists and technologists is fundamental to our national effort. In 1956, the Government adopted a recommendation of the Advisory Council on Scientific Policy that the output of qualified scientists and technologists should be doubled by the late 1960s.

It looks probable that we shall achieve that figure by the middle of the decade. In the six years from 1956, output rose by nearly 50 per cent. so that the figure was over 18,000 in 1962. The 1962 figure for scientists was about 8,000—composed of 6,600 from universities and 1,400 from other institutions. But I want to emphasise that the technical colleges have made a major contribution to the output of technologists.

The total output of technologists in 1956 was 7,300, and this has risen to just over 10,000. In 1962, the Dumber of first degrees in universities rose to 3,000, but the output from other sources rose to over 7,100. Therefore, for the greater part of the supply of qualified technologists, we are relying today on the colleges of advanced technology and the technical colleges.

One interesting point is that, out of the expands output of the technical colleges—from 5,500 to over 7,000 between 1956 and 1962—the number of scientists and technologists who qualified by means of degrees, diplomas and Associateships increased by more than double. This shows clearly how, in the technical colleges, there is increasing emphasis on full-time and sandwich courses leading to a qualification fully equivalent to a degree.

In particular, we are beginning to see the results of the very hard work devoted by the colleges and by the Council for Technological Awards to the courses leading to the Diploma in Technology. In the relatively short time since this honours level award was instituted over 2,000 Dip. Techs. have been awarded, and during the present session about 2,700 students are just completing their first year of study. This figure gives a promise not merely of an increased output from the colleges but an increased output of men and women with a broad background of fundamental study which is so important for the practice of modern technology.

In this development the colleges of advanced technology—the CA.T.s—have played a leading part, and we cannot overrate their importance as pacemakers. Since they were designated six and a half years ago the number of full-time and sandwich students attending courses at university level has doubled, and now stands at over 10,000.I expect this figure to reach 15,000 by the mid-1960s; a further increase to 21,000 has been agreed, and I have allowed a number of colleges to plan on the assumption that the figure of 21,000 certainly will not be the end of the expansion. I accept what the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) said in his thoughtful speech about C.A.T.s having lost some steam.

Many colleges are now undertaking pretty massive programmes of building development, and having had fairly modest building works in the past they have been guaranteed double building programmes of up to £4 million for next year and the year after. This is far further than they have ever gone before. On the issue of the recurrent grants to colleges, I have looked into the figures. I know that they did not get all that they asked for, but they got a 15 per cent. increase in their estimate for this year. I take the hon. Member's point, but I can only say that whenever I go to the C.A.T.s I am enormously impressed with the standard of work.

Nearly all the work done at undergraduate level in the colleges overlaps with the standards in the universities. One thing that has struck me has been how fully my predecessor's judgment to confer direct grant status on these colleges has been vindicated. In retrospect, it was right in 1962 to arrange for their governing bodies to look directly to the Exchequer for their grants. Lord Eccles always laid great stress on the independent standing of their governing bodies, and they include, alongside representatives of industry, the universities, local authorities and various learned and professional bodies, a considerable component nominated from the academic staff of the college itself.

The C.A.T.s will increasingly need the same high calibre staff as the universities. In this context I welcome the fact that the National Incomes Commission is reviewing the salaries of both groups of staffs simultaneously. I hope that this review will result in changes in the salary and grading structure in the colleges which will make them still more successful in attracting the high quality of people they need.

I now turn to the other technical colleges. It is fair to say that today the colleges of advanced technology are generally accepted as institutions of higher education alongside the universities. I accept that they are awaiting the Robbins report with confidence, as the hon. Member put it, and with some impatience. I have a feeling that most people are still not sufficiently aware of the increasing scale of the opportunities for higher education in the regional and area colleges. Whereas in 1956 the number of full-time; and sandwich students at advanced level in these colleges was about 8,000, there has been a trebling of numbers over seven years, and the figure is now 28,000. In addition, there are about 91,000 part-time advanced students in the other technical colleges.

Of the full-time students, about 7,000 are taking courses leading to internal or external degrees or diplomas in technology, and the rest are taking professional and other qualifications of degree or near-degree standard.

I want to give one or two illustrations of the extent to which the leading colleges, other than C.A.T.s, are engaged in higher education today.

Sir Douglas Glover (Ormskirk)

Will my right hon. Friend give way?

Sir E. Boyle

No, I am sorry. I have not much time, and I have more to say.

Among the regional colleges there is one which has over 3,000 students on work of degree or near-degree standard. There are 15 with over 1,000, and eight with over 500 full-time advanced students and a further eight with over 250. Taking London alone they include such well-known institutions as the Sir John Cass College and the Regent Street Polytechnic. Sir John Cass College has more internal students of London University than some of the constituent colleges of the university, and it has a national reputation for its work, particularly in pure science and mathematics. It is a measure of the academic standard reached that at the Regent Street Polytechnic lastyear the numbers graduating with first degrees was 135 and, included, for example, a student in sociology who was the only candidate to be awarded a first class in this subject of all the external and internal candidates of London University.

I wish to say a word about research and post-graduate work in the technical colleges. With their firm undergraduate base on which to build, the colleges of advanced technology and, to some lesser extent, the regional colleges are pushing forward vigorously with the development of research and post-graduate work. Of the total number of full-time and sandwich students enrolled in the C.A.Ts. at the beginning of this academic year, 4 per cent. were working at post-graduate level altogether, and in some colleges the percentage was as high as 10 per cent. There are many important fields, like control engineering, or the application of the latest mathematical techniques to production and administration, in which the colleges are helping to ensure that scientific discovery is fully exploited.

I am glad to say also that the range of effort is broadening. For example, at Brunel and Birmingham the social sciences are playing their part in applying fresh insights to industrial problems. The Birmingham C.A.T. and the Regent Street Polytechnic are two institutions which are receiving grants from the Foundation for Management Education.

All this work calls for staff of the highest quality, and the colleges have a high-quality staff as is shown by the fact that during the past two years they have recruited 577 new staff most of them direct from industry. Thirty-one per cent. had higher degrees and a further 46 per cent. had first-class and honours degrees. I am sure they are right to set their sights high.

I have been speaking deliberately about scientists and technologists because they are the most important part of our system. But I certainly should not wish to under-rate the great importance of a supply of highly-qualified technicians. Although this takes us strictly beyond higher education it is no use having the finest scientists and technologists in the world without the quality of technicians to back up their efforts. I would in the same context like to mention science in the schools, and here again, because education is a continuous process it is worth remembering that the A-level passes in mathematics have risen from 16,000 in 1959 to 25,700 in 1962. The figure for physics has risen from 19,000 to 25,000; for chemistry from 14,500 to 19,000. In the extra £5 million worth of projects I am now authorising I have deliberately given a special weight to school building programmes that will help science teaching not least in the girls' schools. I have approved special projects in London where there was an especially strong case.

I am also glad to say that the numbers of full-time teachers in establishments of further education have just about doubled between 1956 and 1962 from 12,500 to a little over 25,000.

I should like to say a word on the subject of teacher training colleges. Here is a part of the system of higher education where we have already embarked, well in advance of the Robbins Committee's recommendations, on a really major expansion. We have decided almost to treble the student population of the training colleges from 28,000 to 80,000 over a period of 12 years.

This is not a debate on teacher supply, but I should like to take the opportunity of saying to the House that it looks as though the colleges will be able to take in at least 20,500 students this autumn, which will be more than 3,500 up on last year. In answer to the hon. Member for Sunderland, North something like 30 or 40 new schemes of expansion have already been approved under the latest programme. His picture of hostility between the Government and every part of the education service is simply not true.

The hon. Member for Edmonton asked about the possibility of establishing education departments in C.A.T.s. There is to be a meeting on that subject at the Ministry at the beginning of next week. I agree that it is something well worth examining. One wants to emphasise the standing of training colleges as institutions of higher education in their own right. This is one of the most exciting growing points of the whole education system.

The introduction of the three-year course may have exacerbated the problem of teacher supply, but it is already having a striking effect on the life of the training colleges. Colleges have in general favoured devoting the extra time very largely to the students' own personal education whether of a formal nature or by giving further opportunity for private reading. I welcome this because of the increased emphasis on subject study coupled with the higher level of attainment on entry which has been so marked in recent years and which should lay a foundation upon which future development of degree work in colleges can be built.

Of course, it is true that the training colleges for many years to come will be performing a double function. On the one hand, they are vocational institutions which have to bear in mind the needs of the many less academically qualified students so many of whom make excellent teachers, and one must accept that for most colleges the major concern will be to make the utmost of the three-year course with all the extra opportunities which the third year has brought. At the same time, there clearly will be increased scope for degree work by students at these colleges. At present, only a few hundred students in training colleges are reading for degrees by means of afour-year course. There is clearly a need to open a broader avenue to a degree for students in training colleges who are able and willing to work for one. The important point is that the opportunity should at least be open to any students capable of benefiting from a degree course. This is one of the many points on which the views of the Robbins Committee will be so important.

I have devoted my speech mainly to the technical colleges and the teacher training colleges because I do not believe that public opinion fully recognises just how large an expansion of full-time higher education has already been set in

train, even in advance of the Robbins Report. I said earlier that we are more than doubling expenditure in this Parliament from £120 million to £275 million a year. As my right hon. Friend pointed out, at a time when there were 713,000 children in the university age group, 6½ per cent. received higher education. Today the age group is 90,000 larger and yet the proportion receiving higher education has risen to just below 10 per cent.

In every sphere of higher education we are embarked on a programme of massive expansion and the annual cost to the nation in real terms is already more than half of the cost of the whole education service for the first half of the 1950s. Nevertheless, I should not wish to end this speech on a note that appears in any way compacent. I know very well the problems that are caused to the schools by competition for university entry. We have as a Government to recognise the consequences of the success of our policies, especially our success in helping to expand the sixth forms to a figure that has risen by over a half during this Parliament alone.

We have already taken decisions to raise university entry by a third in five years and to treble the training colleges in 12 years. We have taken investment decisions consistent with the doubling of C.A.T.s in 10 years. I have no doubt that the Robbins Report, when it appears, will prove one of the most important two or three educational documents of this century. Of course there must be full time for public discussion and debate, but my colleagues and I are highly seized of the urgency of all these matters and we shall take the necessary decisions as speedily as possible in what we conceive to be the widest interests of the nation as a whole.

Question put, That "£2,679,000" stand part of the Resolution:—

The House divided: Ayes, 241, Noes 190.

Division No. 166.] AYES [9.29 p.m.
Aitken, Sir William Batsford, Brian Bingham, R. M.
Allason, James Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Birch, Rt. Hon. Nigel
Amery, Rt. Hon. Julian Bell, Ronald Bishop, F. P.
Arbuthnot, John Bennett, F. M. (Torquay) Black, Sir Cyril
Awdry, Daniel (Chippenham) Berkeley, Humphry Bossom, Hon. Clive
Barber, Anthony Bevins, Rt. Hon. Reginald Bourne-Arton, A.
Barlow, Sir John Bidgood, John C. Box, Donald
Barter, John Biffen, John Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. John
Boyle, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenshawe) Pilkington, Sir Richard
Braine, Bernard Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk) Pott, Percivall
Brooman-White, R. Hirst, Geoffrey Powell, Rt. Hon. J. Enoch
Browne, Percy (Torrington) Hobson, Rt. Hon. Sir John Price, David (Eastleigh)
Bryan, Paul Hocking, Philip N. Prior, J. M. L.
Buck, Antony Holland, Philip Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir Otho
Bullard, Denys Hollingworth, John Proudfoot, Wilfred
Bullus, Wing Commander Eric Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. Dame P. Pym, Francis
Burden, F. A. Howard, John (Southampton, Test) Quennell, Miss J. M.
Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn) Hughes-Young, Michael Redmayne, Rt. Hon. Martin
Carr, Compton (Barons Court) Hulbert, Sir Norman Rees, Hugh (Swansea, W.)
Cary, Sir Robert Hutchison, Michael Clark Renton, Rt. Hon. David
Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.) Iremonger, T. L. Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Clark, William (Nottingham, S.) Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) Ridsdale, Julian
Cleaver, Leonard James, David Roberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Cole, Norman Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle) Robinson, Rt. Hn. Sir R. (B'pool,S.)
Cooper, A. E. Johnson, Eric (Blackley) Robson Brown, Sir William
Cordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K. Johnson Smith, Geoffrey Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Cordle, John Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.) Roots, William
Corfield, F. V. Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green) Ropner, Col. Sir Leonard
Costain, A. P. Joseph, Rt. Hon. Sir Keith Russell, Ronald
Coulson, Michael Kerans, Cdr, J. S. Scott-Hopkins, James
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Kerby, Capt. Henry Sharples, Richard
Crawley, Aidan Kerr, Sir Hamilton Skeet, T. H. H.
Crowder, F. P. Kimball, Marcus Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'd & Chiswick)
Cunningham, Knox Kirk, Peter Smithers, Peter
Curran, Charles Kitson, Timothy Smyth, Rt. Hon. Brig. Sir John
Currie, G. B. H. Lancaster, Col. C. G. Speir, Rupert
Dalkeith, Earl of Langford-Holt, Sir John Stanley, Hon. Richard
Dance, James Leather, Sir Edwin Stevens, Geoffrey
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry Steward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Digby, Simon Wingfield Lilley, F. J. P. Storey, Sir Samuel
Doughty, Charles Lindsay, Sir Martin Studholme, Sir Henry
Drayson, G. B. Linstead, Sir Hugh Summers, Sir Spencer
Duncan, Sir James Litchfield, Capt. John Tapsell, Peter
Eden, Sir John Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Longden, Gilbert Taylor, Edwin (Bolton, E.)
Elliott,R.W.(Newc'tle-upon-Tyne,N.) Loveys, Walter H. Taylor, Sir William (Bradford, N.)
Emery, Peter Lucas, Sir Jocelyn Temple, John M.
Emmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh Thomas, Sir Leslie (Canterbury)
Errington, Sir Eric McAdden, Sir Stephen Thomas, Peter (Conway)
Farey-Jones, F. W. MacArthur, Ian Thompson, Sir Kenneth (Walton)
Farr, John McLaren, Martin Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)
Fisher, Nigel McLaughlin, Mrs. Patricia Thornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain (Enfield, W.) Tiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh(Stafford&stone) McMaster, Stanley R. Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton) Macmillan, Maurice (Ha'lfax) Touche, Rt. Hon. Sir Gordon
Freeth, Denzil Macpherson, Rt.Hn.Niall(Dumfries) Turner, Colin
Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D. Maddan, Martin Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Gammans, Lady Markham, Major Sir Frank Tweedsmuir, Lady
Gardner, Edward Mathew, Robert (Honiton) van Straubenzee, W, R.
Gibson-Watt, David Matthewe, Gordon (Meriden) Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hon. Sir John
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, Central) Mawby, Ray Vickers, Miss Joan
Gilmour, Sir John (East Fife) Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Wakefield, Sir Wavell
Glover, Sir Douglas Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C. Walder, David
Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham) Mills, Stratton Wall, Patrick
Goodhart, Philip Miscampbell, Norman Ward Dame Irene
Goodhew, Victor More, Jasper (Ludlow) Webster, David
Gough, Frederick Morgan, William Wells, John (Maidstone)
Gower, Raymond Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Whitelaw, William
Gresham Cooke, R. Nabarro, Sir Gerald Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Grosvenor, Lord Robert Neave, Airey Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Hall, John (Wycombe) Nugent, Rt. Hon. Sir Richard Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough) Osborn, John (Hallam) Wise, A. R.
Harris, Reader (Heston) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth) Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Harrison, Brian (Maldon) Page, Graham (Crosby) Woodhouse, C. M.
Harrison, Col. Harwood (Eye) Page, John (Harrow, West) Woodnutt, Mark
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd) Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale) Woollam, John
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.) Partridge, E. Worsley, Marcus
Harvie Anderson, Mies Pearson, Frank (Clitharoe)
Hastings, Stephen Peel, John TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Henderson, John (Cathcart) Percival, Ian Mr. Chichester-Clark and
Hendry, Forbes Peyton, John Mr. Finlay.
Hiley, Joseph Pickthorn, Sir Kenneth
Abse, Leo Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J. Bowden, Rt. Hn. H. W.(Leics, S.W.)
Albu, Austen Bence, Cyril Bowles, Frank
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Bennett, J. (Glasgow, Bridgeton) Boyden, James
Awbery, Stan (Bristol, Central) Benson, Sir George Braddock, Mrs. E. M.
Bacon, Miss Alice Blackburn, F. Bray, Dr. Jeremy
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.) Blyton, William Brockway, A. Fenner
Beaney, Alan Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G. Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.
Brown, Thomas (Ince) Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Redhead, E. C.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hunter, A. E. Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)
Callaghan, James Hynd, John (Attercliffe) Reid, William
Castle, Mrs. Barbara Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Reynolds, G. W.
Cliffe, Michael Jay, Rt. Hon. Douglas Rhodes, H.
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Jeger, George Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Jenkins, Roy (Stechford) Robertson, John (Paisley)
Cronin, John Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
Crosland, Anthony Jones,Rt.Hn. A. Creech(Wakefield) Rodgers, W. T. (Stockton)
Crossman, R.H. S. Jones, Dan (Burnley) Rogers, G. H. R. (Kensington, N.)
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.) Ross, William
Dalyell, Tam Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham) Short, Edward
Darling, George Jones, T. W. (Merioneth) Silkin, John
Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.) Kelley, Richard Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Kenyon, Clifford Skeffington, Arthur
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Key, Rt. Hon. C. W. Slater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock) Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)
Deer, George Lever, L. M. (Ardwick) Small, William
Dempsey, James Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.) Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)
Diamond, John Lubbock, Eric Sorensen, R. W.
Donnelly, Desmond McBride, N. Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
Driberg, Tom MacColl, James Spriggs, Leslie
Duffy, A. E. P. (Colne Valley) McInnes, James Steele, Thomas
Ede, Rt. Hon. C. McKay, John (Wallsend) Stewart, Michael (Fulham)
Edwards, Robert (Bilston) McLeavy, Frank Stones, William
Edwards, Walter (Stepney) MacPherson Malcolm (Stirling) Swingler, Stephen
Fernyhough, E. Mahon, Simon Symonds, J. B.
Fitch, Alan Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Huddersfield, E.) Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Fletcher, Eric Manuel, Archie Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Foley, Maurice Mapp, Charles Thompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Mayhew, Christopher Thomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Forman, J. C. Mendelson, J. J. Thornton, Ernest
Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton) Millan, Bruce Tomney, Frank
Galpern, Sir Myer Milne, Edward Wade, Donald
George,LadyMeganLloyd(Crmrthn) Mitchison, G. R. Wainwright, Edwin
Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C. Monslow, Walter Warbey, William
Gourlay, Harry Moody, A. s. Watkins, Tudor
Greenwood, Anthony Morris, John Weltzman, David
Grey, Charles Moyle, Arthur Wells, William (Walsall, N.)
Griffiths, David (Rother Valley) Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon) White, Mrs. Eirene
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly) Noel-Baker, Rt.Hn.Philip(Derby,S.) Whitlock, William
Griffiths, W. (Exchange) Oliver, G. H. Wigg, George
Gunter, Ray O'Malley, B. K. Wilkins, W. A.
Hamilton, William (West Fife) Oram, A. E. Willey, Frederick
Hannan, William Oswald, Thomas Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Harper, Joseph Owen, Will Williams, W, H. (Openshaw)
Hart, Mrs. Judith Paget, R. T. Williams, W. T. (Warrington)
Hayman, F. H. Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.) Willis, E. G. (Edinburgh, E.)
Healey, Denis Parker, John Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Henderson, Rt.Hn.Arthur(Rwly Regis) Paton, John Winterbottom, R, E.
Herbison, Miss Margaret Pavitt, Laurence Woof, Robert
Hill, J. (Midlothian) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd) Wyatt, Woodrow
Holman, Percy Pentland, Norman Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Holt, Arthur Popplewell, Ernest
Houghton, Douglas Price, J. T. (Westhoughton) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Probert, Arthur Mr. Charles A. Howell and
Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey) Pursey, Cmdr, Harry Mr. Lawson.
Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire) Randall, Harry

It being after half-past Nine o'clock, Mr. Speaker proceeded, pursuant to Standing Order No. 16 (Business of Supply), to put forthwith the Question necessary to dispose of the Resolution under consideration.

Question, That this House doth agree with the Committee in the said Resolution, put and agreed to.

Mr. Speaker

then proceeded to put forthwith the Questions, That this House doth agree with the Committee in the outstanding Resolutions reported in respect of Classes I to XI of the Civil Estimates, the Ministry of Defence Esti-

mate, the Navy Estimates, the Army Estimates, the Air Estimates, and of Navy, Army and Air Services (Expenditure).