HC Deb 07 April 1964 vol 692 cc800-1
Q7. Dr. Dickson Matron

asked the Prime Minister what Ministerial arrangements are now being made to fulfil the obligation of the universities of Scotland to report to the Secretary of State for Scotland under the provisions of the Universities (Scotland) Act, 1889.

Q8. Mr. Lawson

asked the Prime Minister what changes will be consequential on recent alterations in Ministerial responsibilities for higher education in the United Kingdom in the procedure for making reports under the Universities (Scotland) Act, 1889.

The Prime Minister

The new Ministerial arrangements do not affect functions under this Act.

Dr. Mahon

If there are no changes made in these Ministerial obligations, what was the point of the reshuffle? It is difficult to understand why the administration of universities should be taken completely out of the hands of the Secretary of State if he still has his obligations, yet the Secretary of State for Education and Science seems to have few or no powers. Does the right hon. Gentleman realise that many of us are very concerned about this and still do not understand why this change was made?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Gentleman does not ask why the change was made but about this particular obligation on the universities to report to the Secretary of State. This obligation still remains under the Statute. Whether it should continue to remain I am not so sure, and we are now looking into the question.

Mr. Lawson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware, as he seems to he, that there are considerable responsibilities vested in the Secretary of State under the 1889 Act and that we in Scotland would wish to see those responsibilities acted upon and continued under any change in legislation that may be made?

The Prime Minister

I am glad to have the hon. Gentleman's view on this matter, which I will certainly take into account.