HC Deb 05 July 1966 vol 731 cc269-330

4.20 p.m.

Sir Edward Boyle (Birmingham, Handsworth)

The main object of this debate is to register the dissatisfaction which vie on this side of the Committee—and, I hope, not only on this side—feel at the way in which the Government have handled the university building programme during the past year.

The expansion of higher education has been one of our most creditable national achievements during the 1960s. The Secretary of State himself in last January's debate described the figures of university expansion as "remarkable" and quoted them. He said: In 1939, the total number of university students was 50,000 and the entry 15,000. In 1960, the number of students was just under 108,000 and the entry nearly 30,000. Today the number of students is 168,000 and last October's entry was over 52,000."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 26th January, 1966; Vol. 723, c. 242] Those by any standard are remarkable figures. At the same time the student population in colleges of education has risen from 28,000 in 1958 to over 70,000 at the present time: and full-time advanced level courses in technical colleges have risen in the same period from 13,000 to approximately 40,000.

All these figures reflect the greatest credit on the institutions concerned, but they would not have been possible without the capital expenditure which we on this side of the Committee authorised when we were in power. I commend the achievements of higher education in Britain during the 1960s to the attention of all those, whether of Right-wing or Left-wing sympathies, who suggest that nothing right happened under the Macmillan Government after the "Wind of Change" speech.

Perhaps even more important than the expansion was the commitment which the Government of which I was a member took on, with the approval of the whole House, immediately on the publication of the Robbins Committee Report in November, 1963. I remind the Committee of two paragraphs from the Government's statement then issued: The basic assumption of the Report is that courses of higher education should be available for all those who are qualified by ability and attainment to pursue and who wish to do so. The Government accept this assumption and also the calculations on the number of places, both in higher education as a whole and in institutions of university status, which flow from it. The Government adopt the Committee's calculations for 1967–68 and 1973–74 as their objectives for those years. Plans are being put in hand and resources will be provided accordingly. That commitment was an important declaration of policy and it was also right. It remains the basis on this side of the Committee of our policy for higher education. It was right in the national interest because of the significance of educational advance to any industrial nation at a time of rapid technological change.

Of course, this applies not just to university education but also to technical education at all levels, as I said to the House when we last debated education. I said that the quality of the education service depends not only on how we train our top alphas but on the quality of the training we give to our betas and beta minors as well. We should also consider the levels of general education in the schools.

Nevertheless, it is perhaps worth remembering in the context of this debate that the National Plan singles out the importance of university education because of its contribution to the growth of the economy. I remember the right hon. Gentleman's speech on 4th April, 1963, when he was dealing with overall policy for economic growth and specifically referred to the importance of 'more rapid spending on all forms of higher education."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 4th April, 1963; Vol. 675, c. 703.] Over and above the national interest we thought it was right as a matter of social justice that competition for university entry should not be allowed to become more intense than it was already.

It is important for the purpose of our present debate to bear in mind the most recent U.C.C.A. Report, which suggests very strongly that the pressure of demand on university places is not going to slacken. It is probable that the trend in the proportion of qualified school leavers will compensate to a greater degree than had been expected for the fall in the size of university age groups. It is certain from the Department's published statistics that the Robbins Committee underrated the provision for full-time education that would have to be made by 1973, despite the magnificent work by Professor Mosier and his teams which use statistics and projections in a more rigorous way than any earlier Report in this country.

The commitment made at the time of the Robbins Report was regarded by the universities as the start of a completely new chapter in the history of higher education in this country. What Lord Fulton said to the Estimates Sub-Committee was right. He said: After Robbins there was an air of confidence in the universities; they thought 'Now we can expand, we shall have the money to do it'… The universities had got into a state of mind in which they felt that if they expanded they would only be lowering their standards … I think they thought that the Robbins Report and the way in which it was received was a new kind of guarantee this was no longer going to happen … There is not the same confidence today and one important reason has been the unhappy story of the university building programme during the past year. During this period the university building programme has suffered three blows, which I shall describe. First I shall deal briefly, because we have been over this ground in the House, with the consequences of the Chancellor's measures last July. The Unversity Grants Committee said that the building programmes announced in 1964 for the period up to April 1966 were the minimum needed if the Robbins target of places for 1967–68 was not merely to be met but to be sustained. I emphasise that the need was not only to build up to the requisite number of places but to sustain that number. As a result of last July's measures, £15 million worth of university building starts were held over from last year's programme and only £12 million has been added to programmes for this year and next year. So that even by the end of this Parliament universities will still not have fully recovered from the effect of cuts made in programmes which we on this side of the Committee originally authorised as far back as 1964.

There have been two other factors which we have not debated in this House. My second point is that it came to me, and no doubt to other hon. Members, as a genuine surprise and shock that the right hon. Gentleman was not able to add anything to the 1968–69 programme to take account of the results of the U.G.C. inquiry into obsolescences. When we were in office we always recognised the 1967–68 and 1968–69 figures as provisional and subject to review in the light of results of this inquiry. Sir John Wolfenden confirmed this in evidence to the Estimates Sub-Committee, Question 369, and the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State himself said on 26th January that the 1968–69 figure was "subject to adjustment".

The U.G.C. has now completed its survey on obsolescence. I should imagine that it had a full schedule of buildings which are now more or less useless in some cases for their present purpose and in other cases for any purpose, and also of buildings where quite a modest sum would render them efficient. I put it strongly to the right hon. Gentleman that it would do a great deal for university morale if he would look at this again and say that he will allocate a special sum in addition to the programme already announced for 1968–69 to be devoted to making good obsolescence. I have consulted my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston-upon-Thames (Mr. Boyd-Carpenter), with whom I had many passages at arms when he was a Treasury Minister and I was at the Department of Education. He has confirmed to me that it never occurred to him that when it came to the point some special allocation would not be made for this purpose.

Thirdly, there has been a rise in costs since the autumn of 1963 which has effectively cut the value of authorisations by £3 million to £4 million. The right hon. Gentleman has just approved an 8½ per cent. increase in cost limits for school buildings with consequent increases in money value of the school building programme. It has been suggested in several quarters that 8½ per cent. is an inadequate figure, and it certainly casts some doubt on the intention to hold to National Plan education targets in terms of constant prices. But having met the increase in costs for school building, why cannot the right hon. Gentleman at least allow what he would call a"fair"increase for university building costs and adjust the university building programme accordingly? This is all the more important as the consequences of the Selective Employment Tax for building costs are still to come.

As it is even the £25 million cannot all be allocated, since I understand that tenders cannot always be obtained at present cost limits, so there is a need to go up by an extra 4½ per cent. out of the reserves which the U.G.C. keeps for these purposes. We consider that, bearing in mind the continuing pressure of numbers; the built-in momentum of expansion in many university departments, which is a highly important factor; the need to repair obsolescence; arid the rise in university building costs; £25 million is, as I put it at Question Time, a grotesquely inadequate building programme for 44 university institutions for 1968–69.

The years following 1968 are the years in which we should be making good obsolescence in preparation for the renewed rise in the size of the university age groups during the 1970s. We cannot afford to go into the 1970s with an under-capitalised university base. That is why we on this side of the Committee say that the minimum annual university building programme should be £30 million.

In real terms, even that would be no bigger than the programme which we were authorising for the universities, together with the colleges of advanced technology which then had a separate programme, during the years immediately before the Robbins Committee's Report.

If the right hon. Gentleman, as he justly may, prays in aid the economic situation, I can only repeat that I have not found a single audience that thought that it made sense to cut university and technical college building and yet plan in the National Plan to spend £100 million a year subsidising school meals and milk.

We must not forget that the task facing the universities is not merely of reaching a numerical target but of sustaining the increased numbers without sacrifice of standards. The burden is particularly heavy on the older civic universities like Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield and London. All too often people write in the Press as though the universities consisted of Oxford and Cambridge and then the new universities, whereas the older civic universities are providing many of the most important courses in the Arts and fundamental science, and they make a large contribution to learning. I can make no claim to being an academic myself, but many of the current works of history which I enjoy reading are by lecturers or professors in the older civic universities. We have to make adequate provision for these universities as well as building up the 20 new ones.

Mr. Tam Dalyell (West Lothian)

Is it Conservative Party policy at the moment—perhaps I should know—to cut school milk services and school meals to provide finance for the universities?

Sir E. Boyle

Our policy was stated in the early hours of the morning just about a year ago when Mr. Christopher Chataway first spoke. I would far rather see some increase in basic school meals charge, provided that there were proper schemes of remission for those in need, than have cuts in university building of the severity that we have today. I would gladly state that anywhere.

I have three points to put to the right hon. Gentleman before leaving the question of the universities. I shall try to be as brief as possible as we started our debate so late. The Minister will not be surprised if I return again to the question of the projected new technological university for the North-East. He must soon complete the "urgent examination" to which he referred on 24th February last year. I think that he was right not to give any special category of S.I.S.T.E.R.S. but I think that the hon. Member for Middlesbrough, West (Dr. Bray), who is now a member of the Government, put a strong case in July 1964 for a new technological university on Tees-side, where there is a large concentration of population and of capital intensive industry, with no university institution, and there is a strong case for the Government considering a boost to technology with one completely new technological institution.

Secondly, we believe that the party opposite has sold the electorate a pup over medical education. The White Paper on the hospital building programme, and numerous speeches by the Minister of Health, speak of the increased entry of 250 students as "the equivalent of three new medical schools of average size". Everyone to whom I have spoken agrees that 120 is the smallest desirable medical school. Do the Government think that the provision of an extra 250 student places is adequate, bearing in mind that the numbers in general practice are likely to be 900 lower in 1967 than in 1963? There is real urgency here.

My last point on the universities is to draw attention—and here I am sure that the whole Committee will agree—to the great importance of the decisions which will be taken by the U.G.C. in connection with the forthcoming university quinquennium. In allocating funds for the next quinquennium, the U.G.C. will have to play a more positive rôle than ever before.

I am sure that the right hon. Gentleman was right in the January debate to stress the need for the U.G.C. to concentrate resources and to rationalise the provision of costly equipment. I have come to feel that the growth of subject committees on the U.G.C. is right, so long as they do not have the effect of supressing new lines of development.

We shall also see a great increase in demand for post-graduate courses. A period of post-graduate study will be increasingly regarded as right preparation for a growing number of highly responsible jobs.

I do not propose to speak at length about the Franks Report. It would merit a speech in itself, but one point on which I agree with the Franks Committee is on the need to increase both the number and proportion of post-graduate students.

So much for the universities. I now turn to the important White Paper which was published in May entitled "A Plan for Polytechnics and Other Colleges". I wish to say a few words about the Government's proposal, as stated in paragraph 28, to: designate a limited number of Polytechnics as the main centres for the future development of full-time higher education within the Further Education system. I begin with the very first words of the White Paper: Much has changed since the White Paper of 1956 on Technical Education … That is the under-statement of this Parliament so far when one sees what has happened over the past ten years. The number of full-time and sandwich students has increased from 67,000 in 1956 to 190,000 last year; all advanced level students have gone up from 47,000 in 1956 to 170,000 last year; and full-time and sandwich students at advanced level increased from 13,000 to 52,000 in the same period.

I mention these figures because it would be wrong to debate this subject without paying a tribute to Lord Eccles. Seldom has any initiative by any Minister proved so fruitful in such a short space of time as was the case following the White Paper of 1956. Also we should never forget the achievement of the colleges of advanced technology as pacemakers during this period.

I believe that the non-autonomous technical colleges, under whatever name, have a continuing major rôle to play in higher education. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I am not one of those who want to see the whole of higher education swept into the university orbit. More nonsense is written and spoken about this—not least in another place possibly—than on any other current educational issue. There should be a continuing place for technical colleges concerned with learning but primarily institutions of professional training closer to the world of work than the autonomous universities can ever be. I agree with the hon. Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Armstrong) when he says that he would like these colleges to play some part in teacher-training as well. There is a strong case for that.

Coming to the White Paper itself, it is clearly right to concentrate expensive sources in fewer centres. It is right also to designate a limited number of polytechnics as main centres for the future development of full-time higher education. This is sensible economically and, one must add, also from the point of view of the institutions themselves. I have always sympathised with the posit on of those regional technical colleges which just failed to become colleges of advanced technology. Nevertheless, on the face of it, this White Paper is, certainly in parts, a little more dogmatic and schematic than I altogether like.

First, I feel that it would be wrong to draw a sharper dividing line between the polytechnics and the area colleges beneath them than ever existed in the old days between the colleges of advanced technology and the regional colleges. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will feel his way cautiously over the rundown of higher education in colleges other than the polytechnics. Obviously, the two most controversial paragraphs in the White Paper are paragraphs 21 and 22. under the heading, Full-time higher education at other colleges. I hope that he will go cautiously over this. Individual higher education courses of high quality are to be found in a number of colleges which would never claim to be polytechnics. An example given to me is the catering department at Torquay Technical College. People will ask, "If the Devon local authority still wishes to run this course in Torquay, which is highly regarded, why should the central Government bully the local education authority to send it off to a polytechnic in Plymouth?". That is the sort of issue which we shall have to face for the future.

Second, I am sure the right hon. Gentleman will not overlook the argument which has long been associated with the Association of Teachers in Technical Colleges, that there may be a real advantage in having full-time and part-time students doing higher education side by side. I have always felt that there was substance in that.

Mr. E. Rowlands (Cardiff, North)

The logic of the right hon. Gentleman's argument is not in favour of the binary system but against it. All that he has said suggests that when one begins to make a division between the technical colleges, the universities and the other institutions one creates as many anomalies as in the other system.

Sir E. Boyle

I am coming to that. I do not think that one need go to extremes in this. I am in favour of a spectrum of higher education institutions; and this applies also to institutions of higher education outside the university system. At one end of this spectrum—I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will agree here—there may be strong arguments in individual cases for institutional links between a university and a non-autonomous college. To give one example, there is the University of Aston, well known to me—what was formerly the Birmingham C.A.T.—and the Birmingham College of Commerce, adjacent on one campus site. The same is true of the Manchester precinct.

Mr. Rowlands

And in Cardiff?

Sir E. Boyle

I shall not venture into Wales after what happened in some earlier debates. Much the same could be true in the future for Brighton University and the Brighton College of Technology.

At the other end of the spectrum, a college doing generally non-advanced work may nevertheless have at least one advanced course which justly enjoys high esteem over a wide area. In between, there must be scope for a good deal of concentration and rationalisation as courses become more costly. I recognise the case for an institutional link in some cases, but I do not accept that one should try to sweep the whole lot into the university orbit. Many of these colleges are much closer to industry, which has given them much more leadership than the universities have. At the other end, I do not want to see a sharp barrier between polytechnics and the area colleges, many of which, even if they could never become polytechnics, have, as I say, individual courses enjoying high esteem.

There must be scope for a good deal of concentration and rationalisation as courses become more costly, but I hope that the policy laid down in the White Paper will be pursued with due regard to present performance and local feeling as well as the interests of the part-time student no less than those of the full-time student.

I have tried to cut my speech to a fairly modest compass today because, although many of us will be pleased at the outcome, the earlier debate today has taken a considerable share of the time. We shall certainly need to debate education again in this long Session and when that time comes we shall, perhaps, have a more general discussion covering the state of play in secondary reorganisation and primary education. Indeed, the central theme of our next debate may well be the Plowden Council's Report.

It is artificial to cut up education in a debate like this. Our concern in this instance with university education and competition for university entry is clearly linked with the great concern which we feel on this side that there should be no fragmentation of sixth form teaching groups and that secondary reorganisation schemes should be soundly based. But we make no apology for raising this more limited debate today, and I end as I began with a reference to the universities.

It is a particularly worth-while objective in any democratic community to make higher education available to all those qualified and willing to pursue it. Quite apart from the aspects of professional training and learning, there is what I call the ferment of ideas in the university, giving more people the opportunity to partake of the intense intellectual life of the university, the intense meeting together of minds, which I regard as something of infinite value in itself in any community. But this objective set out in the Government's White Paper, following the Robbins Report, entails constant planning ahead and a determination to see that the necessary resources are provided in good time. We on this side believe that there is an overwhelming case for some increase in the university capital programme, for the reasons I have set out. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will tell us that he will look at the matter once again. Otherwise, we shall divide the Committee upon it.

4.46 p.m.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Anthony Crosland)

As a result of other business, we have been allowed only just over two and a half hours for this debate. In these circumstances, I have some doubt whether it is right to have two Front Bench speakers from each side. But, as the Opposition have decided to have a second speech from the Front Bench, I have asked my hon. Friend the Minister of State to reply briefly on the subject of the White Paper on polytechnics. I shall confine myself almost entirely to the universities.

This is the sixth debate on education since I became the responsible Minister, and of these five have been on higher education. I regard this as somewhat unbalanced and I am glad, therefore, to hear from the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle) that we shall at some time in the future discuss questions affecting the schools. This is not the opportunity for a major speech on anyone's part covering the whole of higher education, partly for reasons of time and partly because we had a very long debate on the universities in January this year following the Report of the Estimates Committee. I shall confine myself to a few particular points raised by the right hon. Gentleman.

As the right hon. Gentleman rightly said, we are discussing this subject against the background of sustained and rapid expansion in all sectors of higher education and at a time when everybody has become accustomed to accepting the Robbins figures, or something more, as though these were a matter of conventional wisdom. It is worth reminding ourselves that the expansion which we are now achieving exceeds what was thought possible even four years ago.

The right hon. Gentleman will remember the debate on the universities which took place on 5th April, 1962, when the late Hugh Gaitskell gave both him and Mr. Henry Brooke, as he then was, a rough time. If we look back to what was expected in terms of expansion even then, we see how remarkable the actual achievement has been.

On that occasion in 1962, the right hon. Member for Handsworth said that 165,000 places in 1966–67—that is, this coming October, including the C.A.T.s In my view … represents the fastest practicable rate of university expansion, and no one conversant with our universities has ever suggested that they could be expanded a a faster rate."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th April, 1962 Vol. 657, c. 772.] That was only four years ago. The actual outcome is that we expect the universities, this October, to have a student population of 189,000, that is, 2,000 above the Robbins target and many more thousands above the rate which the right hon. Gentleman said in April, 1962, was the fastest practicable rate of expansion.

As regards the colleges of education, the right hon. Gentleman said in April, 1962, that the total of students in 1966, this year, would rise to 48,000. The Robbins Report, more optimistic, set a target of 71,000. The actual figure we expect to reach this September is nearly 83,000, again something very much more considerable than was ever envisaged in the past.

Taking higher education in the further education system—that is, full-time and sandwich courses in technical colleges—in April, 1962, the right hon. Gentleman did not quote a target for this year. The Robbins Report set a target of 40,000 full-time students in this sector by 1966. In fact, we already have 47,000 full-time students in this sector.

Therefore, over the whole field of higher education and in each individual sector we have far exceeded the expectations set by the right hon. Gentleman and his Government in 1962 and comfortably exceeded the Robbins targets as well. This may be judged to be a very considerable expansion on the part of the whole of the higher education system.

Turning to the universities particularly, as the right hon. Gentleman did, we had from him this afternoon, and we have constantly from vice-chancellors, in their annual reports, complaints about the inadequacy in public expenditure on the universities. It is worth while now and again to get the question of university finance into some kind of reasonable perspective, because from reading some of these speeches one would never in fact gather what the actual figures are.

Ten years ago total U.G.C. expenditure on the universities was just over £37 million, which was about 6 per cent. of all educational expenditure. Five years ago expenditure on the universities was £80 million, which was about 8 per cent. of all educational expenditure. This year U.G.C. expenditure on the universities is £207 million, or about 12½ per cent. of all educational spending.

Taking capital spending alone, we find that the rate of increase over the last decade has been larger for the universities than it has been in any other single sector of public expenditure. In other words, the universities have been obtaining a rising share of an educational budget that itself has been taking a rising share of national income. In these circumstances, I do not think that the universities can possibly say that they have been meanly treated by successive Governments.

However, I come now to the particular complaint that the right hon. Gentleman made this afternoon about the effects of the Chancellor's deferment measures last July. We have debated this before, so I shall deal with it only comparatively briefly. The effect of this deferment, as the right lion. Gentleman said, was that the universities will lose over a period of years £3 million as compared with the programme that they had been previously allocated.

It is worth considering what this programme was as compared with the £3 million which they are likely to lose. This was the university building programme announced by the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone (Mr. Hogg) on 2nd September, 1964. There are two quite remarkable and interesting things about that date. First, it was only a few short weeks before the General Election. Secondly, it coincided with a period when I imagine it was known to Cabinet Ministers in the then Government that the balance of payments deficit was running at a very high figure. I do not know what figure they had in front of them, but by then it must have been a figure of £500 million to £600 million a year. In other words, this was an immediate pre-election programme announced at a time when they already knew that they were running into really severe balance of payments difficulties.

The fact is—I say this only because the right hon. Gentleman constantly came back to this point, so perhaps this had better be said—that the programme was merely a paper promise. It was a cheque drawn against a large and rising overdraft. It was in line with a number of other promises about public expenditure which came in those grandiose closing days of the then Conservative Government and meant, in fact, practically nothing in relation to the actual economic situation.

I would imagine that some subconscious recognition of the looming dangers if the Conservatives were to have got back must have been in the mind of the right hon. and learned Member for St. Marylebone, because his statement on this subject—here I come to the point as to whether the figures for the second and third years were provisional or not—contained this sentence: the figures for the second and third years … will be subject to review at that time in the light of the prospective economic situation and of other claims on the construction industry. This was not mentioned by the right hon. Member for Handsworth. He correctly pointed out that they would be reconsidered according to the terms of this statement in the light of the U.G.C's advice on the capital position of the universities. But this statement also includes the provision that the second and third years would be subject to review … in the light of the prospective economic situation".

The prospective economic situation turned out to be what it was, what has been again and again debated in the House of Commons, and what I do not want to debate this afternoon.

The only surprising thing about this, considering this proviso and considering what the economic situation was beginning to look like in September, 1964, is that apparently the universities took this paper promise as representing some absolutely firm commitment which was certain to be carried out in practice. It is surprising that none of the high-powered economists, by whom presumably vice-chancellors are surrounded, ever pointed out to them just what the dangers were. Those are the circumstances of this programme of which £3 million has been deferred.

Against that background how have the universities fared?

Sir E. Boyle

The right hon. Gentleman is honestly mistaken if he supposes that the programmes which have been cut by the present Government were not announced until September. The programmes announced in September were the programmes for the years following April, 1966. The programmes for 1964 and for the 15 months 1965 to April, 1966—in other words, the programmes vital to the short-term Robbins expansion—were all announced well before the summer of 1964. I will, before my hon. Friend winds up, look up the exact date.

Mr. Crosland

No doubt the programmes were announced in two halves before then, but it does not alter the point I am making that the long-term programme, which is what the universities are very much concerned with, was this one announced on 2nd September, 1964. That was the programme, for example, which covered 1968 and 1969 and which is now a matter of acute concern to the universities. Therefore, I will not reiterate the point that this programme was announced at a time when it was already clear that the country was running into the most serious balance of payments difficulties, and account should have been taken of this by any realistic people.

What we have attempted to do, as the Committee knows—we have discussed this before during the last few months—is to reconstruct this programme following the deferment as rapidly and as generously as possible. The consequence of this reconstruction is that the universities, on our present programme, will lose some £3 million out of a total of over £140 million spread over four years. I do not think that they can maintain, given the economic situation, that this was a harsh, unjust and intolerable cut to fall on them. Other parts of public expenditure also had to suffer in this situation and I do not think that the universities can claim that they were picked on, or that they have been unduly harshly dealt with.

When discussing the question of university building programmes and university finance generally there are a number of things which tend to get forgotten or or least not to get brought clearly enough out into the open. One is that, in addition to the U.G.C. expenditure—those are the figures I was quoting earlier—the expenditure of the research councils has been growing at a very rapid rate, at about 13 per cent. in this current year, despite the economic situation. A significant proportion of this flows through the research councils to the universities.

It is also sometimes forgotten, or at any rate not mentioned, that, again despite the economic situation, the Government announced last December that we accepted the broad principle of the Flower; Report, as a result of which about £20 million will go to the universities over a period of six years for new university computers, equipment, buildings and operating costs. I am very pleased to be able to announce this afternoon that Professor Flowers has accepted my invitation to become Chairman of the Computer Board, the establishment of which was recommended in that Report.

It is also worth bearing in mind, when considering the total picture of university finance and building, that they, unlike other parts of the education system, are extremely well placed—and I am delighted that they are—to attract funds, both current and capital, from industry and foundations. My attitude to this is very simple: good luck to them. If they can get it, I am delighted.

Substantial additional sums of income, both current and capital, tend to be more easily available to the universities, and on a considerably larger scale, than to other parts of the higher education system and, still more, of course, to the schools as a whole. We all know from the recent Press reports that in some cases these capital grants can amount to very large sums of money. The Press was full last week of one example and it is not the only one.

Many new universities have attracted considerable grants and I am delighted that they should be able to do so. But when we are considering university finance and buildings we must make some allowance for this when comparing the universities with other parts of the education system. I know that the universities would like more, and, of course, we should all like to give them more. Especially am I extremely conscious of the severe pressure which is now being exerted on them by the present building cost limits and I am actively considering this matter.

I am also very conscious of the point to which the right hon. Gentleman drew attention—the danger that there may be to our older provincial universities which, if one may put it so, might rather lose out in the present situation. This is a serious danger which we all recognise. To some extent, however, this is the price we pay for having decided—it was not my decision, but the previous Government's—to create a university system with no fewer than 43 universities—a very considerably larger number than most countries have of comparable population. At any rate, on this aspect I strongly agree with the right hon. Gentleman.

But, having considered all these points, one must say that the universities have not been badly treated, given the very large increase in spending that I have described; given the large capital programmes that they have been allocated under the reconstituted programme; given the general national economic situation, which is the background to all these matters; given the extreme pressure also on other parts of the education system which also have a claim for additional resources that are available; and given the fact that, in our judgment, the present allocations will enable the universities at least to achieve the Robbins targets.

As I say, they have not been unduly harshly treated and I do not take at face value the suggestion sometimes made by vice-chancellors—and I understand why they make it—that confidence in the universities and the morale in them is at a low ebb. That is not what I find when I go round the universities. Naturally, it is the job of vice-chancellors to make their case as strongly as they can, but when I talk with staff and students I find little sign of this alleged low morale. On the contrary, I find these places full of the most bustling activity, a great deal of building and of confidence in the future.

Here, perhaps I may refer to what the right hon. Gentleman rightly said in a recent speech—that we tend in this kind of discussion to suffer from "communal melancholia". This applies in particular to the universities when speaking of their own problems. Obviously, one wishes that there were more time to debate and develop other points about the universities, but I shall only mention some of the things going on in our universities that I find extremely exciting.

There is an increasing involvement by the universities with the non-university world of government and industry. This is very marked all over the country. The only example I will quote is the encouraging involvement of the universities in regional planning. Three of the regional economic planning councils have university chairmen and I think that in practically every one of the regions the universities are doing a great deal of work for the councils.

Mr. Jack Ashley (Stoke-on-Trent, South)

But is my right hon. Friend aware that one of the most important regions, North Staffordshire, is isolated from other regions and that the fact that it does not have a college with full technical studies has created deep distress and concern? Will he bear this concern in mind before making a final and irrevocable decision on the issue?

Mr. Crosland

I will bear my hon. Friend's concern in mind on this, and it comes as no surprise that there might be some complaints from that area. Indeed, they were rather what we expected.

As I was saying, there is increasing involvement in outside activities, both Governmental and industrial, by the universities and a new willingness on their part to discuss what their entrance procedures should be. The Franks Report highlighted this problem and the interest of the universities is symbolised by the Standing Conference that the vice-chancellors have set up. With the appointment of Mr. Alan Bullock—which the Committee will welcome—as Chairman of the Schools Council, the dialogue between the schools and the universities will become closer in future.

It is striking, wherever one looks, to see the increased attention given to efficiency and productivity. We now have almost a complete university at York built with one the industrialised building systems—"C.L.A.S.P."—and we have the exciting experiment in industrialised building at Bath. The use of university buildings is a matter of concern to vice- chancellors, and it is interesting to see that they have set up a special committee to consider how O. & M. methods might be applied to universities and in two regions—Scotland and the North-East—co-operative experiments in the use of O. & M. are about to take place. The right hon. Gentleman also mentioned postgraduate studies and things are going ahead rapidly here. The national picture shows that we are ahead of the Robbins targets for postgraduate students.

The most striking development in the U.G.C.'s activities is the decision of the Committee substantially to reorganise itself into subject groups. We might find this to be a major reform of the Committee. I am certain that it is a reform that will make much easier what the right hon. Gentleman drew attention to—the need to have some kind of rationalisation of courses when we have 43 universities. Clearly, not all can be equally pre-eminent in every single subject from ancient Greek to nuclear physics.

In dealing with the question of students' rights, we are seeing a welcome development in the terms of the universities' attitude to their students. We have been able—or, to be more exact, the Privy Council has been able—to give some help in this direction by encouraging new universities when having their new charters approved, to insert into them certain important provisions for safeguarding students' rights. This is an important and necessary development.

Against this background of rapid change and development in the universities, what is the Government's objective? First, it is to ensure the necessary resources for expansion. I hope I have shown that these resources will be there. Secondly, it is necessary for the Government to take a view of the needs not only of the universities but of higher education as a whole and not to look at the one divorced from the other. One of the ironies of the discussion of the binary policy is that a number of those who strongly attacked the policy supported the recommendation of the Robbins Committee that universities should be hived off to another Ministry, where they would, in fact, have been divorced in responsibility both from the colleges of education and the technical colleges. That would not have been a right thing to do and it was, of course, rejected by the last Government.

It is extremely important to have an overall view of all higher education. One ands this need when discussing broad national requirements such as the need to increase management education, the output of town planners and architects for example. One cannot settle this kind of question except by looking at all aspects of the system if we are to ensure something like fair shares between the universities and non-university sectors. For example, the U.G.C. has established cost limits common to universities and colleges of education and is now working on trying to find common cost limits for non-residential accommodation which will apply to all sectors of higher education. This is an important and encouraging development.

There is one essential point where one must take some total view, and it is when discussing the numbers whom we wish to enter higher education, say, ten years ahead; how the numbers should be distributed among universities, colleges of education and the technical colleges. We cannot have an intelligent policy for the future of higher education if we divorce any of these sectors from each other. I have been very concerned at the absence since the Robbins Report of any systematic analysis going on anywhere in the country both as to the total numbers thought likely to be, in the famous phrase, "qualified by ability and attainment" to enter higher education and, even more important, by the absence of any serious consideration as to which sector of higher education they should most desirably enter, which sector should be expanded relatively as compared with the others.

One of the things which we are now doing in my Department is establishing a long-term planning division one of whose functions—only one, I hope—will be to try to keep Robbins up to date. This phrase has been used in the Committee before when it has been said 'low terribly important it is to keep the Robbins figures and projections up to date. 'The only place where this can be done is in the Department and it will be one of the functions of the new planning division which we are in process of setting up.

What we are all committed to in this Committee is expansion, and inevitably expansion produces great strains on those who have to undertake the burden. It is obvious enough that the strain under which the universities suffer is not confined to the universities, but is felt by all parts of the education system and it must be if we are to have a progressive and expanding and dynamic society. In such a society, with rising standards and rising numbers, this strain will be felt at all points and will be with us for as far ahead as we can see.

My own view about higher education is that we have made the resources available for this challenge of rising numbers and rising standards to be met. On this there is no difference between us—that the object of the entire exercise is that steadily over the years we should enable a rising proportion of our younger generation to enter higher education and derive benefit from it.

The Deputy Chairman (Mr. Sydney Irving)

In view of the limited time at our disposal, I ask hon. Members to keep their speeches as short as possible.

5.12 p.m.

Mr. John Cordle (Bournemouth, East and Christchurch)

I am grateful to you for calling me, Mr. Irving, and I promise you that I shall keep my remarks brief in view of the short time allocated to this debate. I can promise you that I shall confine myself to my notes and that my speech will take only six minutes.

In the Appendix to the White Paper the needs of the Southern Area have been only partially met by the creation of Portsmouth and Oxford as polytechnics. There is a very large area of West Hampshire, South Wiltshire and the County of Dorset, with its natural centre in Bournemouth, which is not catered for in the scheme for the provision of higher education facilities by a polytechnic. With a catchment area population of more than 620,000 and a growth rate of 10 per cent., it seems unreasonable that the nearest designated polytechnics are more than 50 miles by road from Bournemouth. In parentheses, Bournemouth is 51, Bristol, 82, Oxford 94 and Plymouth 124 miles away.

Owing to the very successful record of the College of Technology in Bournemouth, there is a very serious shortage of accommodation and a pressing need for new buildings. Both staff and equipment are of a very high calibre and competent to deal with polytechnic level work and it would be a tragedy if this fine organisation were dispersed. On the other hand, the Bournemouth area could easily provide residential accommodation for any number of students at reasonable cost.

Bournemouth College of Technology has for many years provided a comprehensive range of full-time and part-time courses of either degree or below-degree level to meet the requirements of the Government's scientific establishments, including the Atomic Energy Authority, and the extending engineering, electronic and computer industries, as well as commerce and the professions and industry's vital need for the training of technologists and technicians. In fact, Bournemouth College of Technology is already running highly successful full-time degree and final professional examinations which are not likely to be discontinued. Moreover, the concentration of scientific research and the scope of the large industrial development, especially in the chemical, electronics, computer and engineering industries, together with excellent additional facilities and amenities, make Bournemouth an ideal choice for one of the new universities. Close intercourse between university, college of technology, college of art, research establishments and industry would be of inestimable value to all concerned.

According to the White Paper, 50 per cent. of the proposed polytechnics will be situated in towns which have an existing university. This can be seen from paragraph 12 on page 5 of the White Paper. It refers to "the availability of lodgings", yet it is clear already in many university towns and cities that lodgings are at a premium and that expansion of polytechnics would exacerbate this situation.

It is here that the seaside resorts, whose accommodation is used intensively during the summer vacation, but which have a surplus of lodgings at other times of the year, could come into their own. The emphasis placed on siting the proposed polytechnics in existing industrial centres, while no doubt making sense in the short term, could have a longer-term unfortunate effect, since there will probably be a period of ten years before any further polytechnics are designated. Thus, the elite of higher education, the universities and polytechnics, will be in the industrialised areas, often both in the same town, and this may well be a factor in drawing brighter young people away from other areas, a problem which may already be arising in Bournemouth. We must think ahead so that imbalances in population ages and skills which already exist are not made worse.

I welcome the considerable extension of higher education which there has been in the past 20 years. I regard the brains of our youth as part of the capital assets of our country which must not be squandered by neglect. I am glad that it has been found possible to establish new universities in various parts of the country—in some cases very near to existing universities and often with special emphasis because of the local availability of experienced workers and opportunity and research. For this reason I would especially urge the suitability of Bournemouth where an enlightened attitude to the arts has been cultivated alongside highly technical research work of various kinds. The fact that many boarding houses would welcome students for three regular terms a year in out-of-season months makes Bournemouth especially suitable for a new university for Wessex, and the presence of many retired folk with wide experience and excellent qualifications adds to the cultural attractiveness of the town.

However, may I conclude with one word of caution? Many of us are concerned about reports which come from time to time of moral standards which have been tolerated in certain universities. I remember a lady warden complaining that her work was complicated by the difficulty of keeping students out of each other's beds. Disclosures about drug taking and suicides cause alarm at a time when so much of the nation's resources are being spent on education.

Is it too much to ask that university and college authorities should exercise something of parental oversight over these adolescents who are committed to their care? Surely that is part of their duty to both parents and the State.

Mr. E. Rowlands

As a recent warden of a hall of residence of a university, may I tell the hon. Gentleman that we keep general parental case over our students?

Mr. Cordle

I am sure that that will be welcome news.

5.21 p.m.

Mr. Ernest Armstrong (Durham, North-West)

I have no territorial claims to make for the North-East and I am satisfied with the right hon. Gentleman's statement on polytechnics. I want to discuss very briefly the general aspect of higher education, and I would like to tell the Secretary of State that we appreciate that the great difficulty with educational priorities is that no one is satisfied with the expenditure on education. I believe that it ought to have a far greater priority than it has. I appreciate the figures which he has given and the very strong case that he has made out, but because I believe that education is fundamental to the sort of social change that is essential to modern society, I think we ought to have an even bigger priority accorded to education, and I assure him that he will have the support of his hon. Friends in pressing the case even harder with the powers that be.

Everyone shares in the pleasure of hearing the announcement of the expansion of higher education, and the speech of the right hon. Gentleman has indicated that we want to go even faster. If I may coin a phrase, I would say that we believe in expansion and in high priority for education because we want to give equal opportunity to all of our youngsters to become equal citizens. The education service is the key to such opportunity. When one thinks of all the rejection that goes on in education, at the way in which our youngsters are inhibited because of the lack of opportunity, it is no wonder that we have so many misfits, youngsters looking for kicks in their leisure time because of all of the opportunities which they have been denied through educational rejection.

I congratulate the right hon. Gentleman on the very bold decisions that he has made in spite of the restricting factors of the economic situation and the continuing demands upon every section of education. I applaud his White Paper on the polytechnics, about which I shall have something to say later. One of the difficulties in discussing universities is that we tend to generalise, and I hope that those who read our criticisms will understand the difficulty under which we work when we place them all in the same category. So far as the non-autonomous sector is concerned, the difficulty is that we talk to them and they cannot understand that the same pressure is being put upon the university sector as is being put upon their sector in order to increase productivity.

There is a widespread belief in technical colleges, colleges of further education and educational institutions that in some way or other the universities are getting away with it. I do not accept this, because I happen to know the facts, and I know that great pressure is also being put upon the universities. Even so, there is this widespread impression, and the Department has a job to do to make sure that there is no discrimination in the pressure that is brought to bear to maintain extra productivity in all sectors of higher education. In the new circular on polytechnics, I would summarise the aim of higher education as being to offer comprehensive facilities within reasonable access of students whether full-time, part-time or undertaking a sandwich course.

We know that resources are stretched to the limit, whether teaching resources, supply of equipment, buildings and so on. It is surely common sense to seek greater concentration of full-time higher education. We cannot afford overlapping and duplicating with the limited resources at our disposal. I would reinforce the words of the right hon. Gentleman about the need for flexibility. There is undoubted apprehension in many places which have been left out of the lists of provisional polytechnics among the staff and the governing bodies. I hope that we shall continue to have flexibility of entrance qualifications to the various courses. We have to remember that further education has suffered somewhat because of the constant desire on the part of staffs and principals particularly to shed low-level work and to be rather reluctant about taking part-time students. The result is that some further education colleges have to take far too big a proportion of part-timers. It is difficult to achieve a real community life, leading to personal development, where there is not a hard core of full-time students.

I hope that in the application of the principles of the Circular the Secretary of State will continue to be very flexible and will not draw severe lines. We must get away from the ladder principle in higher education. The very close links which the technical colleges have with industry, the professions and commerce are very valuable. I sometimes get very anxious when I hear people talking, at various conferences, about the technical colleges and their close links with industry. It is not a crime to pursue courses of vocational content which incorporate a training element. These are just as educationally desirable as other courses. Certainly they are in no way educationally inferior.

There is nothing degrading about preparing oneself to earn a living, and it is about time that we reminded folk of that when they talk such airy-fairy stuff about higher education. Some remarkable figures have been given this afternoon. In a reply in this House three weeks ago it was said that the current grants from public funds for universities totalled £224 million. This is a tremendous sum by any standards, and, as the Secretary of State has reminded us, they are claiming an increasing proportion of educational expenditure.

I want to suggest that universities should justify themselves a little more to the public and that they should be subjected more to public scrutiny. I know that this leads to much misunderstanding and needless suspicion, but it is quite obvious that when such a sum of public money is involved the public have certain rights and responsibilities. The universities must make their own case. I have not heard of anyone who would want to interfere in any way with academic freedom of universities. We are not trying to dominate or to interfere, but that does not mean that there is not a case for public accountability and for the universities justifying themselves.

Very briefly, I want to mention one or two matters that have concerned me as I have talked to university students and visited various universities. The first is failure rates. There is no doubt that some universities have preconceieved notions of what the failure rate should be. Far too many of our intelligent youngsters capable of getting a good degree are thrown out of university. Sometimes this is because of the lack of individual attention paid to students. But the high failure rate which we have in certain faculties in certain universities is a serious waste of precious teaching time and a criminal waste of scarce resources. It is also very harmful to the individuals concened. Far too many good students are rejected, not because they are incapable of getting a good degree, but because the course available is not the right course for them and sometimes there is not enough flexibility to enable them to change their course after the have started their university career.

There is great scope here for fresh attitudes in certain faculties in some universities. Many would profit from a serious investigation into teaching methods and traditions. I welcome very much the progress being made. I know that there are vice-chancellors and university staffs who welcome the new trends, and I would commend them to those who have been rather tardy about revising their attitude.

I read a speech in the Listener not long ago by a university teacher who put forward a point of view which I know is shared by many university teachers. He placed his first responsibility and first obligation to his subject. He said: This overrides all my other loyalties and responsibilities. Does it? There are many immoral and inhuman pursuits which have been fostered and practised in the sacred name of research and the search after knowledge for its own sake.

Those whom we teach are important. Human qualities are just as important as the subject, perhaps more important. I think that they should be paramount. I sometimes become anxious when I talk to people about the value of research. Of course, research is valuable, although we should justify what we are doing because a good deal passes under the name of research which would take some justifying in the light of the limited resources available.

There are universities which claim to pursue learning for learning's sake. I suggest that they have not always been in the van of progress. The revolutionary ideas have not always found the greatest favour in the universities. Some universities have not distinguished themselves in their attitude to the entry of women into higher education or in their reactions to suggestions about admissions. What I am convinced about is that both sectors—that is, what we call the autonomous sector and the public sector—have a great deal to give each other and to teach each other. The autonomous sector could do with much more public accountability and public scrutiny. At the other end, the public sector—certain technical colleges, and so on—should have rather more autonomy. There should be no question of interference in the day-to-day running of the college and the curriculum, and so on. A great deal can be done in exchanging ideas and facilities.

As I see it, the priorities given by the Secretary of State should be reinforced by the House. We are proceeding along the right lines. Public education is always a question of priorities. The right hon. Member for Birmingham, Hands-worth (Sir E. Boyle) talked about the meals subsidy. It is true that we can select various things in isolation and ask whether we are justified in giving them the priority which they get because it means that other things have to be held back.

We have made a mistake in recent years in pretending that we can do everything at the same time. I am glad that we have a Secretary of State who is prepared consciously and deliberately to make decisions on priorities. They may be unpopular, but, because I believe that they are in the interests of the youngsters of the country, and because I believe that we are getting a balanced progress in education, particularly in higher education, which does so much to enhance the character and personality of the individual, I am sure that my right hon. Friend can count on our support, especially in his demand that education should have an even bigger share of the national cake.

5.36 p.m.

Mr. Airey Neave (Abingdon)

I agree with much of what the hon. Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Armstrong) has said, but he will forgive me if I do not take up his remarks in detail because I want fairly shortly to put to the Minister o' State one or two questions about the activities of the universities in science and technology, and particularly the need for expansion there. For that reason, I welcome what the Secretary of State said about the appointment of Professor Flowers as Chairman of the Computer Board which the right hon. Gentleman announced. I am on the governing body of the Imperial College of Science, and. therefore, I speak from that point of view.

Before I go into that matter, I should like to comment on what the Secretary of State said about the universities and their share of the national income and whether-they have a right to feel uneasy about the present position. He is rather inclined to brush aside their anxieties. They exist not only in the breasts of vice-chancellors. Whether they will be convinced about his theory that the present economic situation is all due to the last Government, the fact remains that people are worried about whether the present rate of expansion will meet the Robbins target. That is the real issue. No doubt other hon. Members will refer to it.

Many people in the universities are worried, too, about growing interference with their finances and financial independence. I am not sure that we should exaggerate this. I have read the speech of Sir Ifor Evans condemning what he calls "the surrender to Government finance". Over two-thirds of universities' income comes from State resources. I do not think that we should take this too seriously, but I should like to see a reduction made in the questionnaires that they have to answer at short notice, particularly when asked to "quantify" their activities. The universities should be dedicated to study with the minimum of interference, but I cannot wholly accept that they should be entirely independent in matters of finance, however nostalgic that may be.

As I say, I wish to relate my remarks to science and technology and, in particular, to draw the attention of the Minister of State to our industrial future in this connection. I take, first, the University of Oxford, on which there was recently a good article by Mr. Hutchins of the Education Department. At Oxford last year, 60 of the 120 men who took the honours degree in chemistry were working for research degrees. Of those 60, 47 went into industry and 13 into teaching. The national figures are about the same. This presents us with a real problem, because there is a tremendous shortage of engineers, few of whom do university research and we have four times as many post-graduate chemists as engineers.

In so far as we all aim to tie up the activities of the universities with industry, may I ask what work is being done to get the priorities right? Engineering should not be left to industry and Government establishments. The universities should take a fuller part in teaching engineering by interchanges with industry. University research in pure science is more attractive to many young people because it is felt to offer "more freedom" than industry. We notice that at Imperial College, and I am told that the same is true of Oxford. If pure science gets overstocked with the best brains, the engineering departments will go short. I want to ask the hon. Gentleman if he will comment on what I have just said and tell us what is being done.

If the Robbins targets are to be reached, as we all hope they will be—it depends very much on how the economic policy of the Government solves the difficult situation that we are in—we shall need a three-fold increase in university graduate studies in science and technology. At least, that is the calculation which I have been told. Therefore, this expansion at the moment clearly cannot be sufficient to do that under the present programme.

When talking about industry and the universities, we are always told of the example of the United States, where clearly there is a much closer relationship between the universities and research in industry. Our research effort is a comparatively small one. I remember Lord Bowden saying that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology does more applied research than all the British universities put together. That does not mean that we cannot produce research of good quality, but we have to spend more money on it. In so far as it is true that there must be a threefold improvement and increase in postgraduate studies, there must be more money, and there is not enough now.

Talking of Lord Bowden, in connection with pure science and the need for dedicated men, he recalls that, in the early 'thirties when he was working with Lord Rutherford, the total budget was £2,500 a year, and Lord Rutherford used to say to him, "We have no money to spend, so we shall have to think." I know that it is an exaggeration to say now, when we have developed nuclear physics, that we should put things into reverse in any way in regard to those principles. But it would be a good thing if we did more to train the best minds. Lord Rutherford believed that his discoveries would be of no economic or political importance, and he died thinking that, yet the Cavendish Laboratory today is able to spend £300,000 a year.

Therefore, I plead for a degree of free enterprise in the universities, particularly in scientific and technological research, and for a minimum of interference. If the capital funds at the disposal of the University Grants Committee are inadequate and financial control grows, we shall not see the same original results that we have seen in the past. We have to get the right priorities and, while I welcome much that the Secretary of State said, particularly about computers, I think that he is being a little over-optimistic about the feelings of the universities in regard to future expansion.

5.43 p.m.

Mr. Frank Hooley (Sheffield, Heeley)

The debate began, as such debates must begin, with the Robbins Report—that classic State document on the subject of higher education. I am glad that both sides of the House have accepted the Robbins principle that all young persons qualified by ability and attendance to pursue a full-time course of higher education should have the opportunity to do so.

I want to look quickly, not backwards but forward, to the period beyond 1968 and to what will happen to university places in the period 1968–74. The National Plan envisages acceptance of the Robbins figure of 219,000 places in 1974, which is only 21,000 over the 1967–68 target which we now all confidently expect to be reached. That represents an 11 per cent. increase in the number of university places in about six years.

On the statistics provided by the Department of Education and Science in a fascinating projection published in 1964 and relating to the year 1963, it appears that the increase in demand is likely to be of the order of 23 per cent. in that period. I will not weary the House with the details, which can be looked up and checked. I assure hon. Members that those figures show—and nothing has happened since then to modify them—that between 1968 and 1974 there will be something like an increase of 23 per cent. in the number of candidates with good qualifications for admission to universities. In that time, we have envisaged an increase in the number of places of only 11 per cent.; so that it appears that the competition for university entry in that period will be very much more intensified if we stand pat on the Robbins figure.

We all know what the results of that intensification will be. It will result ha pressure on sixth forms for specialisation and a distortion of the liberalisation of sixth forms which we would all very much like to see. A further consequence which may flow if we stand pat on the target for 1973–74 is that the number of 21,000 additional places will be spread over a period of six years and over some 40-odd instititutions.

It is quite clear that the major part of the expansion must occur, quite rightly, in the new universities and in the colleges of advanced technology which have recently achieved university status. That means that the older civic universities in particular may be faced with an extended period of years in which their student numbers do not rise at all. That can only mean that they will have no claims to additional staff and no claims to academic developments in terms of new courses or new departments.

If that occurs, and I hope that it will not, I would submit that it will not have a good effect on the morale of a university whose expansion is brought to a halt. I am not saying that the position will necessarily arise, but on the figures in the projections that we have it is undoubtedly true that there will be a halt to expansion in certain parts of the university sector in the six years from 1968 to 1974.

The situation outside the universities presents a slightly different picture. The work paper on polytechnics does not accept the Robbins figure of 41,000 students by 1973–74. The figure has been raised to 70,000, and that 70,000 is to be achieved not by 1973–74 but by 1969–70; in other words, there has been a 75 per cent. increase in the numbers planned in half the period of time originally envisaged. Obviously there will have to be a change of balance between the expansion rate in the university sector and the rate in the non-university sector of higher education.

I wonder whether that reflects the thinking which lay behind the Woolwich speech and the so-called binary system. It is a shade ironic that the Association of Teachers in Technical Institutions, who raced to embrace the Woolwich speech as its charter of freedom, has now had the binary knife applied to its own sector of higher education and finds that under the system of polytechnics there will be two sectors outside the universities. If these plans come to fruition it means that we are moving towards not a dual system but a tripartite system of higher education, with three separate sectors. I hope that it will not arise. I hope that the flexibility which has been pleaded for from both sides of the House will continue to exist and that we shall not have developing an 18-plus more vicious and more unpleasant than the old 11-plus. I think that the trends which might stem from the White Paper need to be carefully watched, and that we must have a sustained and careful debate on the possible consequences of it.

With regard to the geographical distribution of the proposed polytechnics, I find it odd that none is proposed for the East Riding, the North Riding, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Huntingdon, Suffolk and Norfolk. Almost the whole of the eastern part of England is excluded from any proposed polytechnic under this scheme, and I hope that this aspect of the geographical location will receive a little further scrutiny.

I want to touch on three points with regard to the internal organisation of the universities themselves, because we have had a certain amount of, not exactly criticism, but suggestion, that the accountability of the universities is not perhaps all that it ought to be. I suggest that there are three spheres in which the universities should be a little more forthcoming on this question of public accountability.

I have been a little disappointed at the attitude of some of my former academic colleagues, at the niggling and petulant manner in which they have regarded the cost analysis now being carried out by the University Grants Committee. I think that this petulance is unjustified. I think that the universities will find that this cost analysis, though it may be too complicated at the moment, and might need modification, will be valuable to them—and will be valuable internally to each separate institution—as a check that they have achieved the right balance between the various aspects of their work and the work of the different faculties. I hope that the attitude to this cost analysis will be revised, and that the universities will be more forthcoming.

Secondly, I should like to see more attention paid to the question of staff-student ratios. The Fifth Report of the Estimates Committee produced some astonishing variations in staff-student ratios for the same faculties in different universities. One accepts that different faculties may justifiably have different staff-student ratios one from the other. For instance, medicine will have a different ratio from that for the arts or social sciences, but what makes me uneasy is the wide variation in staff-student ratios in the same faculties in different universities.

In science, one university has a staff-student ratio of 1 to 9.9, and another 1 to 4.5. In the arts there are variations from 1 to 11.5, to 1 to 7.3. In the social sciences there are variations from 1 to 14.9 to 1 to 7.7. Academic manpower is expensive and scarce, and it is very important—and I am sure that the universities recognise this—that the public should be persuaded that this manpower is being used to the fullest possible advantage.

One has only to demonstrate this arithmetically to see how important it is. If there is an institution with 1,000 academic staff, and one accepts a ratio of 1 to 7, 7,000 students can be taught there. If, however, one accepts a ratio of 1 to 8, 8,000 students can be taught there. That means an extra 1,000 students can be taught with the same manpower, and at the same cost. I am not arguing for either of these figures. I am not saying that 1 to 7, or 1 to 8, is the right figure, or, indeed, that it is possible to have a one for all the various faculties, but I think that the wide discrepancies thrown up in the Estimates Committee's Report need further investigation, and that the universities would be wise to look into this matter themselves.

Thirdly, I think that there is considerable scope for careful analysis and study of the use of existing buildings. Some months ago I tried to do a little exercise into the use of classroom places, and the number of classroom places required for a given number of students. I assumed, rather airily, that the U.G.C. would have some figure of how many classroom places were required for a given population of students. I was told that no such figure existed.

This is a complicated calculation because in a university there may be as many as 400 to 500 students in a class, or as few as half a dozen, and there are enormous complications of timetable, but I do not believe that it is beyond the mathematical expertise of universities, aided perhaps by the use of computers, to calculate what number of classroom places there ought to be for a given student population, allowing for differences in subjects and faculties.

I am not concerned with laboratories. Laboratory places are a more special consideration. I am concerned simply with the provision of classroom places, and no careful study seems to have been made of requirements. These places not only cost considerable capital sums, but they have to be cleaned, heated, lit, and maintained, and the business of cleaning, lighting and maintenance in a modern university is an enormously expensive one, and growing in costliness all the time.

Those are the three things in respect of which the universities could well make closer and more careful investigations without any threat to their academic freedom, without any suggestion of interference from outside. I believe that the results of such investigations would be very valuable to the universities themselves, and would help to justify their expenditure, in so far as it needs justification, to the public.

I have not in this short debate touched on fundamental matters of higher education. There is not time for this, and I am sure that there are other hon. Members better qualified than I am to discuss the deeper problems of universities and technical colleges.

I believe that, whatever the difficulties, there is a greater feeling of social responsibility in the universities today than ever before, that corporately and as individuals the academic world is conscious of its responsibility to the larger community, and that it is only too anxious to play a full part, and to help, in dealing with our national problems.

5.57 p.m.

Mr. W. R. van Straubenzee (Woking-ham)

Other hon. Members have been so admirably brief that I shall do my best in a few moments to comment on only two matters. The first arises out of a comment by my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle), who talked about the academic excitements which arise when persons are gathered together in a university. I want to refer to that and to make a comment which diverges from the view held by both Front Benches.

If I were trying to put my finger on the greatest problem that we have in training those who will teach. I would say that it was their status, or what they believe to be their status, and I would go on from there to look very closely at the way in which we organise our colleges of education with reference to the links which they have with the universities.

I believe that this aspect of the so-called binery system—itself a perfectly dreadful word—is wrong. We build new colleges in close proximity to universities. We increasingly allow students at those colleges to take a degree course. We require them to be there for three years. I am certain that the logical consequence of this thought is that the colleges of education should be integral parts of the universities, and that both major parties were wrong when they decided to leave them substantially under the authority and control of the local education authorities.

Nobody feels more strongly than I about the value of local connections with education. Nobody feels more strongly than I, for example, about the value of local authority representation on the boards of primary and secondary schools. But I do not believe that the same considerations apply to colleges of education. I do not believe, for example, that the governors of such institutions have to deride the kind of very local, personal matters which, in the experience of us all, are the concern of the governors of primary and secondary schools; indeed, the students with which they are concerned are drawn from a far wider area, and many of the small, domestic matters upon which very valuable advice is given by the governors of primary or secondary schools do not arise in respect of colleges of education. I do not expect that individual regions of the country feel a sense of belonging to a college of education in the same way as they do to local primary and secondary schools.

In consequence, I am sure that we have missed an opportunity of raising the status of those who are being trained to be teachers and who are undertaking courses fully as wide and fully as important as those of any modern university, but who are denied the additional status of having been to such places of learning. I want to place this firmly on the record my own belief—if necessary as the only Member who is out of step with everybody else; no, I am delighted to find some fellow rebels on the Benches opposite.

If I were asked what was the most important development in higher education generally in the years since the war, I would say that it was the broadening social base from which students of all kinds are drawn. No longer is the word "university" considered only in a few homes, comparative to the population; rightly and properly, it is an institution which enters into the lives and homes of people who would never have considered the possibility a few years ago. Increasingly today it applies to higher forms of further and higher education.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Handsworth has rightly drawn attention to the fact that increasing numbers of our young people will be undertaking post-graduate work. If that is the case, considerable problems will arise in connection with the subject of grants for post-graduate work. Therefore I want to confine my remarks exclusively to grants for undergraduate work. I am profoundly concerned about the talk that I have heard to the effect that the system of grants for undergraduates is under review and that active consideration is being given to making loans instead of grants. I am sure that the country would be making a fundamental mistake, at least in respect of undergraduates, if the clock were to be put back and a system of loans rather than grants were instituted for students.

The people who would be most affected would be those to whom I have referred, into whose homes higher education generally, and the universities in particular, have moved with increasing force. The fact is that if daddy lives at St. George's Hill, Weybridge, which is a perfectly honourable place to live, daddy will repay the loan; but if daddy lives in a local council house, which is an equally honourable place to live, and earns his livelihood by working for the local council, and his fifth son has got a place at a university, daddy cannot repay the loan. The families whom we would not want to penalise will be penalised by a system of loans.

I hope that the Minister of State will be able to reply to my next point. I am a lawyer, and I submit that every lawyer always looks at the enforcement of any law. It lies within the competence of the Committee to pass any law, but lawyers always look at the enforcement of the law, and I believe that a system of loans would be honourably respected, although bitterly resented, by most students if it turned out to be the wish of the Committee, and then dishonourably ignored by a minority, in respect of whom it would physically not be possible to enforce the recovery of the loan.

I ask the Committee to consider the position of a man who emigrates for a long or short period, or the impossibility literally of extracting blood from a stone. If the former student has not got the money there is no power by which any court or this House can extract it from him. Very strong resentment would be caused by the contrast between the honourable student who observed his obligations and the few students who did not. It would be a resentment out of all proportion to the numbers involved.

In accordance with the general self-denying ordinance of the debate, I merely record the fact that this is the moment when we must warn the Minister of State, in no uncertain terms, that if he seeks to reorganise the present system of undergraduate grants and to replace it by a system of loans, he will draw around his head a swarm of angry bees and Members of Parliament from both sides of the Committee. Although this may be a somewhat fierce debate, it has been—as are all our education debates—a very friendly one; but the Minister must not trade upon the friendliness of this side by tampering with the grants in this way.

6.7 p.m.

Mr. John P. Mackintosh (Berwick and East Lothian)

I support the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee). I want to add one more to his most telling points against a system of loans. We must also remember that higher education is a form of investment, and that we need every young man and woman we can train. This is a form of obsolescence charge, and it is being applied at the very time when we are trying to convince sections of the community that higher education is not the prerogative of a small group, but is available to everyone.

If we rush into this situation, and insist upon loans, we shall undo the work done by hon. Members on both sides of the Committee for the past 20 years. I can think of nothing which would be more disastrous, and which would be a more backward step for higher education. I thank the hon. Member for making this point.

I start by agreeing with the sentiments expressed by both Front Bench speakers. I agree with the Minister that more money—and a higher percentage of money within the educational sphere—is available for the universities, but I do not agree that there is an atmosphere of complete confidence in the universities. There is considerable alarm. The hon. Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave), who is a member of the Governing Board of Imperial College, is right in saying that there are doubts and worries in the minds of many people involved in higher education whether they will be able to meet the Robbins targets, although those targets may be too low in the near future.

I was a little disappointed at one remark of the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle), when he said that money for higher education could come from a cut in school meals or school milk. It would be very unfortunate if it went out from this Committee that these were the two alternatives, when the Government were spending £8,000 million or £9,000 million a year. We can find many alternatives which are much more sensible and acceptable than this one.

Even if the money is not directly available, if the economic condition is such, there are one or two other alternatives by which we might improve the atmosphere in the universities and convince them that more can be done both by them and for them to improve the situation without necessarily spending considerably more money.

Looking back over the history of higher education in the last 10 or 12 years, I do not think that we have been as successful as some people imagine. We have increased numbers and we have more institutions, but this has been achieved in a rather haphazard fashion which reflects little credit on our capacity for future planning. I do not blame anybody. I admire the individual members of the U.G.C. who have toiled through this field, but I ask the Committee to remember that the U.G.C. has 22 men on it who are the heads of big departments, who are carrying on their own research and administration and who are expected, at the same time, to plan and advance a whole sector of higher education.

They are now coping with over £200 million per annum and 90 separate institutions in 40 universities. This is not possible, which is the reason for some of the unevenness of development. After all, there was no great expansion or planning for a number of years in the 1950s. Then, suddenly, the"bulge"was knocking on the gates of the universities. These young men and women, who had been born just after the war, and had been alive for 15 or 18 years and for whom nothing had been done, arrived at the gates of the universities and we were presented with a political as well as an educational crisis. There was sudden action and we threw up another seven universities.

I admire a great deal of what has been done in the new universities, but if we did this again would we create these seven universities? Would we not further expand some of the existing "redbrick" universities and civic universities, and be more sparing with new creations? After this expansion came the Robbins Report, and we were surprised to find that we had insufficient statistics. The Minister told us that he was alarmed that insufficient statistical work, planning and preparation was still being done. All this shows the difficulty, I would say the impossibility, of trying to plan this vast sector of higher education with a part-time academic body which, although working prodigiously hard, cannot keep pace with this situation.

If any hon. Members have had the experience of a U.G.C. visitation, they will know what I mean. These unfortunate men travel to a university, weighed down by a mountain of paper which they cannot possibly assimilate. They stay for half a day if the university is small and two days if it is the biggest possible. Every minute of their time is taken up. They are beseiged by deputations and delegations. At the end of the day, I cannot conceive how they can get the "feel" of this institution, how they can adequately judge these things for perhaps the next quinquennium. It is impossible, yet we cling to this form of administration of higher education—the U.G.C.

I hope that hon. Members will not imagine that I am in any way hostile to academic freedom, but I think that it is a confusion in many cases. It covers two or three separate things. The crucial thing is not academic freedom, which is a confusing term, but intellectual freedom which counts. Nobody in Britain would tamper with intellectual freedom. Our whole life, our institutions, our Press everything in the country—supports intellectual freedom. I cannot imagine saying, "The answer to this piece of research is that the First World War was caused by A rather than B," and we could not imagine telling practical teachers how they should teach or what they should teach.

It is an entirely different thing to say that academic freedom involves treating a large and vital sector of higher education in this remote-controlled manner through a part-time body which cannot cope. When one goes round the universities, one finds that nobody supports the U.G.C. because it is the best method but because they cannot think of a better immediate alternative. I suggest that we could construct a better method in the next few years by organising higher education so as to retain intellectual freedom but, at the same time to allow this House to exercise greater control, to get more information for the public and to give the universities a feeling that their needs are fully understood, that they have a method of explaining their case to the public.

If we did this, we would do something to remove the frustration, part of which is caused by lack of money, but part by the curious remote control which operates at the moment. My hon. Friend said that he was disappointed at some universities' "prickliness" about the quantitative controls applied to them. Some of these controls are silly. An example is when one is asked to divide the cost of a particular piece of equipment between post graduate and under-graduate teaching and staff research. In many cases, this cannot be done.

But this quantitative control arises only because the U.G.C. cannot know the university intimately. It cannot get to grips with it or understand its needs. It has to operate from a long way off. Secondly, a method is needed of university control which can also push a little. I do not believe that any body of men, however honourable, can be left to control their own profession completely by themselves. This applies to medicine, to law and to all types of organisation.

We investigate the Civil Service, probe it and have commissions. We consider it and talk about it in the House. Almost every senior profession is subject to this type of criticism. We ought to be allowed to discuss such matters as a disproportion between staff-student ratios. Those of us who have been in universities have seen difficulties arise when there is a sharing out of staff. This is done sometimes with expert planning but, often, when small oligarchies are in control, the easiest decision if one is to live with one's colleagues is to share new posts equally, one apiece. If there are four faculties, each can have one.

I remember once working in a university and asking why the faculty of divinity needed a lectureship each in campanology and liturgiology and the dean said, "If you are having two each, we will have two." Again, there is, in certain faculties and universities, considerable under-employment. This is known outside and it does the universities no good. They might as well concede it. I used to travel to work at one time and see a poster which said, "Join the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers and fight for a 40-hour week." I used to reflect happily on my university colleagues who had a 40-hour year and were still fighting.

I do not want to push these points too far. We can do a lot to help the universities by instituting a better system of public control which is more sympathetic and understanding, which could give larger sums to science and technology, for instance, which could leap ahead and give special grants where they are needed, but it might also be suggested that in certain faculties, it is a mistake for every university to teach everything. It is a mistake to reduplicate department after department. In some cases, extra staff may not be needed if they are only to teach four hours a week.

I know some universities where the teaching term, in effect, ends on March 13th or 20th for the summer, and the next formal duties of the staff are on 4th or 5th October. Nobody can seriously tell me that, if we are short of money and staff, we need four and a half months' holiday for this type of highly educated manpower. Nobody can tell me that we need to keep our libraries and classrooms unused for a total of six months in the year.

I see that Canadian and American universities are experimenting with a four-term year. The staff get one term off, they get the same holidays for research, but the university and its facilities are available for four terms in the year. They give the student the opportunity of graduating in four years of three terms or three years of four terms, which does a great deal to speed things up. I would like to see one of our universities trying out this experiment. There are many other methods we could try to use our facilities to greater advantage—to get back to the Robbins enthusiasm—and one suggestion I have is that we should produce a U.G.C. which hands out the money but which is more a part of the Ministry of Education. I do not think that we could abolish it. Indeed, there would be too much opposition to that. But in five or 10 years' time I believe that we will have to insist on more control, so let us make the U.G.C. more a full-time body and more definitely a part of the Ministry of Education.

At the same time, we should give the universities an opportunity to express their point of view to the public. I would, therefore, like to see the Vice-chancellors' Committee expanded, with more members from other levels of university staff so that the universities would be able to give an explanation in public of what they desire. I would like to see Parliament setting up a Select Committee on the lines of the Select Committee on Nationalised Industries to investigate two or three universities and their expenditure every year, although not in a hostile or critical sense. I say that because I do not believe that it is good for any body of men to be left totally in control of £200 million. The universities should be able to discuss these matters with a friendly committee, talking the matter over and discussing what they have done and how they might be able to do better. That would benefit all concerned.

When I was a university professor I was a member of the Study of Parliament Group which was designed to improve the conduct of the House of Commons. Now that I am an hon. Member of the House of Commons, I would like to be a member of a Select Committee designed to improve the conduct of the universities.

6.22 p.m.

Mr. Charles Morrison (Devizes)

Because of the time at our disposal, I trust that my hon. Friend the Member for Berwick and East Lothian (Mr. Mackintosh) will forgive me if I do not comment on his remarks. My hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee) mentioned that this had been a friendly debate, and I hope that he will forgive me if I introduce a slightly less friendly note because I was somewhat surprised at the tone of the Secretary of State's speech.

However pleased the right hon. Gentleman may be with the progress that has been made—and the right hon. Gentleman called it "progress"—I thought that he was being rather complacent about it, for the picture in the university world today is very different from what hon. Gentlemen opposite said it would be in the heady days just prior to the 1964 General Election. At that time there were many promises, real or implied, and, for example, the present Prime Minister found himself able to write: Higher education is facing a crisis of unprecedented severity, and, if disaster is to be averted, vigorous action will be essential the moment a Labour Government is returned to power. The Secretary of State wrote in his election address: Labour demands a major educational advance. What a different picture we have today. My right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle) deployed some of the differences and I hope that the Secretary of State is still demanding—although so far it appears to many of us that his demands have fallen on unhearing ears—because far from vigorous action is being witnessed.

To begin with, we had a postponement of the university building programme. More recently, we have had cuts. The confidence engendered by Labour statements has sadly evaporated, so much so that the university world deplores the present situation and the inadequacy of the resources that are being allocated. The Principal of London University commented in his 1965–66 Report on the fine response by the universities to the request of the U.G.C. in regard to the extra number of student places which they could provide, a question which was posed the very day after the publication of the Robbins Report. He stated: Little did they realise that, less than two years later, they would be in a position which would bring to mind the plight of the Israelites who. centuries ago, were commanded by the Pharaoh of the day to make bricks without straw. To give another example, the Chairman of the University Court at Sheffield stated that the Governments curb had had … a disastrous effect on the university's programme. Yet another example: the Registrar of the new University of Kent said last December, about the universities' development plans: Nobody knows about the remainder of the programme…. The University Grants Committee cannot get a decision. We are bogged down in bureaucracy. I do not wish to detain the Committee by giving further examples of the views of those who are directly concerned with the universities. Suffice to say that the important remarks of these people should be put on the record to indicate the extent of the current air of disillusionment.

The people I have been quoting and many others concerned with the universities—lecturers, students and students to be—might well echo the words of the right hon. Member for Nuneaton (Mr. Cousins) who, in a long and interesting letter to the Prime Minister upon his resignation, stated among other things: In fact, just before the General Election you"— the Prime Minister— gave me to understand that you would help to break down the shibboleth of the belief that what we needed to secure economic recovery was sufficient power in the hands of the Government to compel the unions to accept without question the decisions of the Board for Prices and Incomes. He went on: Unfortunately, you did not maintain that view and so our present policy has taken us into a position where disputes … have been inevitable". The implication of the remarks of the right hon. Member for Nuneaton is obvious—win an election under one flag of convenience, but haul it down quickly when the need for it no longer exists. I thought that the whole burden of the Secretary of State's speech today was an apologia of this. The right hon. Gentleman said that the universities had not been unduly harshly treated, but I do not believe that there is any excuse whatever for the right hon. Gentleman having cut back their building programme.

In the light of the paramount importance of the universities to the future of this country—and in my view the future of Britain depends to an ever-increasing extent on them—their treatment should have been the very opposite to what has been doled out to them by the Secretary of State. That the treatment meted out to them so far by the Government is far from acceptable is the very reason for today's debate.

6.28 p.m.

Mr. Richard Hornby (Tonbridge)

I apologise to a number of hon. Members who have not yet had an opportunity to speak in what has been a short by interesting debate in which a creditable numbers of speeches have been made. I was surprised at the outset to hear the Secretary of State almost complaining of there having been too many debates on higher education. What a strange turn of events compared with two or three years ago when, on these benches, hon. Gentlemen opposite were complaining about very much the reverse situation; how we should be discussing this important subject far more.

My impression is that the right hon. Gentleman's complaint about there being too many debates on higher education is certainly not a complaint that is echoed in the universities, in which there is no longer any feeling that the discussion of their affairs by the House of Commons is an intrusion into their affairs. Rather, they take it as a compliment and a realisation of just how important to the national interest we regard what they are doing.

Incidentally, I thought that the Secretary of State was a little less than just to my right hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle) in saying that this interest in higher education was out of step with any similar interest in the schools. If he consults the record he will find that on 2nd March of this year we had a debate on secondary reorganisation, and on 25th April he will find 10 extremely interesting columns of my right hon. Friend's comments on schools and teacher supply as compared with half that number on the universities.

The background to this debate has been the growing concern about the abilities of the universities to reach the Robbins targets. I entirely agree with the view expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) that the Minister was brushing aside a little too lightly the anxieties of vice-chancellors and others. The right hon. Gentleman spoke of melancholia, but whether that applied to the speeches in this House or to the universities I am not sure. We would not be wise just to set it aside as that, and no more, and not to take serious account of the complaints that are being made of some of the postponements that have been necessary in the planning of a number of universities—

Mr. Crosland

I hesitate to interrupt the hon. Gentleman, but the word "melancholia" that he has just quoted came from a speech made by his right hon. Friend in Birmingham, three days ago.

Mr. Hornby

Then we now have the authority of both right hon. Gentlemen and of Punch, so we are in very good company in using the word again.

Also in everyone's mind in this debate has been the growing realisation throughout the country, and certainly in this House, that adequate provision for higher education is vital to us as an industrial nation. Equipment keeps scientists here; it is lack of equipment more than anything else that leads to the brain drain. There is a need for engineers in industry. We have report after report from university appointments boards of industry's crying need for much larger numbers of graduates of one kind and another than they are getting; of the need for teacher supply, and so on.

We were grateful to the Secretary of State for mentioning a number of interesting developments, but it seemed to me that his case really amounted to this. Present allocations, he contended, will enable the Robbins targets to be met. The universities are not being badly treated, but are getting a rising share of a rising educational budget. Perhaps we may just ask one or two questions about that argument. Of course, the expenditure graph is going up—so it has been, and so it must. The question is whether it is adequate to the needs admitted by hon. Members on this side of the House, by the right hon. Gentleman and by the universities themselves.

The Secretary of State referred in his comparisons to 1960–62 and asked us to consider what has happened since then. He will, however, remember that 1962 was pre-Robbins, and prior to the examination and the acceptance by the House and by my right hon. Friends of the chart that Robbins prepared for the nation of the needs in this field in so much detail and with so much skill. Those needs were accepted, and we are now questioning whether the capital that is made available will be equal to the needs.

Secondly, the Secretary of State—and, in a previous debate, the then Minister of State—said that there had been no serious cuts since July, 1965, but only postponements of improvements. In such a key field as this, the point that needs emphasising again and again is that postponements are in themselves cuts unless any rises in costs that have taken place during the period of postponement are made good. We have had no indication from the Secretary of State of any addition from the previously announced sum. I should be grateful to the Minister of State if he would tell us whether any addition there will be possible.

Thirdly, the right hon. Gentleman said that the figures for expenditure as maintained at present by himself are higher than those that my right hon. Friend was able to propose when he held office, but in making that point, as my right hon. Friend said, no account was taken of the fact that two of the programmes during the time when he was responsible were provisional, and allowance has to be made for the results of the obsolescence study on which my right hon. Friend commented. Perhaps the Minister of State will be able to tell us whether any allowance is now to be made in the programme to take account of the study, which has now been completed.

I mention that point because I think that it is true, as has been mentioned during the debate more than once, that the burden of the expansion programme is falling very heavily on many of the civic universities, where this problem of obsolescence and the need for capital to deal with it is being most acutely felt.

The Secretary of State asked us to bear in mind that, according to his own contention, he was ahead of the Robbins figures. But, in addition to what Robbins originally wrote and reported, we have to bear in mind that it is now universally agreed that the Robbins estimates are under estimates of the numbers of those needing university places; and that to meet the national need we have to be ahead of the Robbins figures. We want to know what allowance is being made for the new estimates of the numbers likely to need, and be of a standard to qualify for, higher education.

Then the right hon. Gentleman said that we have to consider the overall economic position. Of course we have—we quite understand that. The national economy is always with us, as every Department, and particularly a heavy spending department as the Ministry for Education and Science very properly is, must realise, but here the question for the economy, just as much for the individuals and human interests concerned, is one of priorities. Research, industry, engineers, exports—we have mentioned the points before; the speeches of right hon. and hon. Members opposite during the election, and in the last Parliament and in this are full of emphasis on the high priority that must be accorded to economic interests no less than to educational interests and the development of higher education.

We on this side are bound to say that bearing in mind the July cuts, bearing in mind the rise in costs by as much as 12 per cent. since 1963, bearing in mind that some allowance for these rising costs has been made for the schools but not—and, again, we should like to hear more of this—for the universities, we wonder whether the universities are being given quite the high priority that was accorded to them in earlier speeches and thoughts, and which was accorded to them when my right hon. Friends were in charge of this Ministry.

The present position is a serious one for many of the universities. Of course, they realised that it would be a testing time for them. I accept that they would be right up against the margin of what they could achieve in any case. That reinforces the argument for asking the Secretary of State to beware, if possible, of postponements which have been necessary and to reinstate them if he can. We have suggested some of the reasons why they should be reinstated.

I shall briefly refer to one or two additional points made in the debate. I welcome very much what the Secretary of State said about research now being undertaken and work being done to keep the information supplied by Robbins up to date. If we are to get the allocation of resources right in this field this is very essential work.

I was interested in what my hon. Friend the Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee) said about the status of the colleges of education and those teaching in them. I was interested in the perfectly valid point he made, but I ask him to agree that if one wants to think about the status of the colleges one should also think about preserving the close links with the schools into which those who are learning how to teach and who are practising teachers will go.

The point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, East and Christchurch (Mr. Cordle) about the distances between many districts with substantial areas of population and their nearest polytechnic, is important. Of course, we want to concentrate on scarcities of people and resources. Up to a point that conflicts with trying to provide these centres relatively near to centres of population. I echo what my right hon. Friend the Member for Hands-worth said at the beginning of the debate, when asking the Secretary of State to go cautiously on any changes made in this direction.

I think that he will find that there are many existing institutions which, in the end, it would be seen valuable to have continuing in many of the courses they are at present running and which in the mind of the Secretary of State may now be earmarked for removal elsewhere. I think that he may find he is able to move towards a compromise in this respect. If he is to rigid on this he may find a loss of enthusiasm in.many places where excellent courses are being run and a loss of skilled staff and valuable contacts with industry.

I want to leave plenty of time for the Minister of State to reply to the debate. I come back to its main purpose, the priority now being accorded by the Secretary of State to the vital question of expansion of higher education. The universities were by us, and have in recent years been, given a very high place in the ranking for capital and other development. Certainly, vice-chancellors, among others, have a feeling that with the many competing claims which admittedly are before the Government the universities may be slipping back a little. In the opinion of the House of Commons it would be unwise if that were to be allowed to happen.

Unless the Minister of State can correct the impression which the Secretary of State gave that all is on target and all is relatively well in the universities and in what is being provided by the Government for them, my hon. and right hon. Friends will be compelled to divide the Committee.

6.45 p.m.

The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mr. Goronwy Roberts)

This has been a brief but extremely interesting debate. It has also been very wide-ranging. One would have hoped that there would have been time to deal with the many interesting and important points raised by hon. and right hon. Members on both sides of the Committee, but, as my right hon. Friend said, he desires that I shall spend the comparatively short time at my disposal dealing with the main aspects of the important White Paper, "A Plan for Polytechnics and Other Colleges". If there is time I shall refer to points raised about the university sector, but I am sure the Committee will bear with me if I concentrate for the most part on technical colleges and prospective polytechnics.

In the debate there has been general approval for that White Paper. Hon. Members are in general agreement that the central aim of the proposals—to lay the basis for a distinctive sector of higher education within the further education system to complement the universities and colleges of education—is broadly acceptable. Certainly, the progress in further education in the past few years has been remarkable, reflecting the greatest credit on all concerned and particularly on local authorities on whom special responsibility has fallen in this matter. Their part in promoting the growth of the further education sector over the past 10 years is a major argument for the retention in public control of one sector of our higher education system. This is one of the advantages of the binary system.

There are 47,000 full-time and sandwich advanced students in England and Wales in the further education system and about 100,000 part-time advanced students. The National Plan makes clear the intention of the Government that by 1969–70 there should be 60,000 full-time and sandwich advanced students in England and Wales. This compares with the Robbins Committee estimate of 46,000 places by 1973–74, so here again we have overtaken Robbins and the progress is very creditable.

This, of course, does not include provision for students of 18 and over pursuing courses in higher education which are not at present classified as advanced. On the adequacy of financial provision to match this progress, I remind the Committee that 10 years ago the value of further education major applied programmes was £9 million. Next year it will be £27 million. Putting the matter in terms of total public expenditure on further education, £50 million was spent on further education in 1955–56, £115 million in 1964–65 and the figure will rise to £170 million in 1969–70.

The National Plan shows that whereas total education spending will rise by 32 per cent. in the five-year period, planned spending on further education will rise by 58 per cent. These figures show that the Government are in earnest in developing to the full the further education sector as part of the united effort in higher education to provide for our young people, according to their age, aptitude and ability, the proper training which they deserve.

The proposals are intended to bring about a significant measure of concentration of resources. This is the central aim of the proposals. Quite naturally, the right hon. Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle) and hon. Members on both sides of the Committee have shown understandable concern lest this should lead to over-hasty action in which very substantial and reputable colleges may be left out of a useful rôle in higher education.

My right hon. Friend wishes me to say emphatically that there is no intention of creating a rigid pattern, irrespective of traditions and individual circumstances. My hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Armstrong) pressed for flexibility, and the right hon. Member for Handsworth asked us to move cautiously. A proper reading of the White Paper will reveal that this is precisely the way in which we approach this question. The changes proposed will not be effected overnight or in haste. They are essentially flexible and evolutionary. The great care with which provisions for consultation have been worked into the proposals proves this. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State will not designate a college or a group of colleges for status as a polytechnic, whether by merger or federation, until t here has first been full consultation with the Regional Advisory Councils and with the local education authorities concerned.

Furthermore, he will consider what views regional economic planning councils have to put to him about the position in their regions. This applies to regions which may feel, having looked at the appendix to the White Paper that they have been, as it were, left out. The fullest possible discussion and consultation with the authorities in such areas will be conducted. My hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent, South (Mr. Ashley) referred to Staffordshire, and my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Heeley (Mr. Hooley) referred to East Anglia. They can be fully assured that the position in the areas which they mentioned will be the subject of very careful consideration and study.

Mr. J. E. B. Hill (Norfolk, South)

With regard to East Anglia, there is the question of growing expansion not only in population, but in all education and further education. Therefore, will the Minister take account not only of existing circumstances, but of the likely circumstances as they develop over the next 10 years?

Mr. Roberts

I am sure that the regional advisory councils and the local authorities will, like the hon. Member, have those considerations very much in mind when they discuss the position with the Department.

These major centres will be developed as comprehensive academic communities, catering for full-time and sandwich students at all levels of higher education. The aim is to make the centres strong and large enough to offer a wide variety of disciplines, and to sustain an active community of staff and students. They would normally be expected to be capable of ultimate growth to at least 2,000 full-time students, apart from the part-time students recruited locally.

They must deal with three sets of students. We should get this absolutely clear. First, there are the full-time sandwich students, aiming at degrees and professional qualifications of degree level. Secondly, there are the full-time and sandwich students aiming at a range of higher educational qualifications below degree level. Thirdly, there are the part-time students at both levels.

This is also a description of the function of the other colleges which are not upgraded to being polytechnics, and which will continue to serve these three categories. The creation of the 28 to 30 major centres of polytechnic activity in no way means that there will not be that kind of activity in other colleges which are not upgraded.

The point was made—I think by the hon. Member for Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby)—that there are colleges which, for one reason or another, cannot be included in a polytechnic arrangement, but which, nevertheless, have a high degree of attainment and of work, and it would be a great pity if any system were to result in our losing such colleges from the general higher education arrangements. This will not be so.

We shall need, in addition to the new major centres, a large number of part-time centres of higher education spread all over the country within reasonable access of students, of whose travelling difficulties we are very conscious. Part-time courses will continue to be subject to the criteria for approval of courses which are in force from time to time, and, as recommended in the recent Pilkington Report on size of classes and approval of courses, special consideration will be given to the needs of scattered country districts.

Secondly, the White Paper specifically provides for the continuance of full-time as well as part-time work in the specialist centres—colleges of art, agricultural colleges and the rest, when it is not practicable to include them in polytechnics.

Thirdly, there is the important provision under which colleges which are not specialist centres will be able to continue with full-time as well as part-time higher education if they satisfy special needs, as evidenced by the students' support necessary under the normal approval procedures.

There will, therefore, be no lack of flexibility, and we shall continue to need extensive provision outside the polytechnics. As to the colleges which, sooner or later, will have to give up their full-time higher education, I say this: one of the most important education Acts that the House unanimously approved during the last two or three years is the Industrial Training Act, which is now beginning to be implemented. The teaching and practical resources of the colleges which will not come into the polytechnic area will be increasingly needed in order to serve the young men and women from industry who, under that Act, will be seeking special training and education.

I am sorry that I have not been able to refer to a number of important points. As I have said, I was extremely anxious that the main points of misunderstanding and misapprehensions about the terms of the White Paper should be clarified. My right hon. Friend and I would be most

Division No. 95.] AYES [6.59 p.m.
Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash) Gower, Raymond Nabarro, Sir Gerald
Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead) Grant, Anthony Neave, Airey
Astor, John Gresham Cooke, R. Nicholls, Sir Harmar
Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n) Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St. Edmunds) Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael
Awdry, Daniel Hall, John (Wycombe) Nott, John
Balniel, Lord Hall-Davis, A. G. F. Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
Barber, Rt. Hn. Anthony Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury) Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian
Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.) Osborn, John (Hallam)
Bell, Ronald Harris, Reader (Heston) Osborne, Sir Cyril (Louth)
Berry, Hn. Anthony Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye) Page, Graham (Crosby)
Biffen, John Harvie Anderson, Miss Page, John (Harrow, W.)
Biggs-Davison, John Hastings, Stephen Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)
Blaker, Peter Hawkins, Paul Percival, Ian
Bossom, Sir Clive Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward Peyton, John
Boyle, Rt. Hn. Sir Edward Heseltine, Michael Pike, Miss Mervyn
Brewis, John Hiley, Joseph Pink, R. Bonner
Brinton, Sir Tatton Hill, J. E. B. Price, David (Eastleigh)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt. Col. Sir Walter Hirst, Geoffrey Prior, J. M. L.
Brown, Sir Edward (Bath) Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John Pym, Francis
Bruce-Gardyne, J. Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James
Bryan, Paul Holland, Philip Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter
Bullus, Sir Eric Hordern, Peter Rees-Davies, W. R.
Campbell, Gordon Hornby, Richard Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David
Carlisle, Mark Howell, David (Guildford) Ridsdale, Julian
Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert Hunt, John Roots, William
Cary, Sir Robert Hutchison, Michael Clark Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)
Channon, H. P. G. Iremonger, T. L. Royle, Anthony
Chichester-Clark, R. Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye) St. John-Stevas, Norman
Clegg, Walter Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford) Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.
Cooke, Robert Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead) Sharples, Richard
Cordle, John Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)
Carfield, F. V. Kershaw, Anthony Smith, John
Costain, A. P. Kimball, Marcus Stainton, Keith
Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne) Kirk, Peter Stodart, Anthony
Crawley, Aidan Kitson, Timothy Talbot, John E.
Crouch, David Knight, Mrs. Jill Tapsell, Peter
Crowder, F. P. Lambton, Viscount Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Dalkeith, Earl of Lancaster, Col. C. G. Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)
Dance, James Langford-Holt, Sir John Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)
d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland) Temple, John M.
Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.) Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'nC'dfield) Tilney, John
Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford) Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone) Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.
Digby, Simon Wingfield Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral) van Straubenzee, W. R.
Dodds-Parker, Douglas Loveys, W. H. Walker, Peter (Worcester)
Doughty, Charles McAdden, Sir Stephen Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek
du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward Maclean, Sir Fitzroy Wall, Patrick
Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton) Maddasn, Martin Walters, Denis
Eyre, Reginald Maginnis, John E. Ward, Dame Irene
Farr, John Marten, Neil Whitelaw, William
Fisher, Nigel Maude, Angus Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Fletcher-Cooke, Charles Mawby, Ray Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Foster, Sir John Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J. Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard
Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone) Mills, Peter (Torrington) Worsley, Marcus
Galbraith, Hn. T. G. Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.) Wylie, N. R.
Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.) Miscamphell, Norman Younger, Hn. George
Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.) Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)
Goodhart, Philip Morrison, Charles (Devizes) TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Goodhew, Victor Mol[...]t-Radclyffe, Sir Charles Mr. R. W. Elliott and
Mr. More.

ready to meet hon. Members who have raised important points on which they would like further information, or groups of hon. Members, and discuss those points very fully with them.

Sir E. Boyle

In view of the Minister's failure to answer our points on obsolescence and rising costs in university building, I beg to move, That item Class VII, Vote 1 (Department of Education and Science) be reduced by £5.

Question put:—

The Committee divided: Ayes 171, Noes 267.

Albu, Austen Finch, Harold Mayhew, Christopher
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.) Fletcher, Ted (Darlington) Mellish, Robert
Alldritt, Walter Floud, Bernard Mendelson, J. J.
Anderson, Donald Foley, Maurice Milian, Bruce
Archer, Peter Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale) Miller, Dr. M. S.
Armstrong, Ernest Ford, Ben Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)
Ashley, Jack Forrester, John Moonman, Eric
Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.) Fowler, Gerry Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)
Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham) Fraser, John (Norwood) Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)
Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton) Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)
Bagler, Gordon A. T. Galpern, Sir Myer Morris, John (Aberavon)
Barnes, Michael Garrett, W. E. Moylo, Roland
Barnett, Joel Garrow, Alex Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick
Baxter, William Ginsburg, David Neal, Harold
Bence, Cyril Gourley, Harry Newerrs, Stan
Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton) Gregory, Arnold Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)
Bessell, Peter Grey, Charles (Durham) Noel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)
Bidwell, Sydney Hamilton, James (Bothwell) Oakes, Gordon
Binns, John Hamilton, William (Fife, W.) Ogden, Eric
Bishop, E. S. Hamling, William O'Malley, Brian
Blackburn, F. Hannan, William Oram, Albert E.
Blenkinsop, Arthur Hattersley, Roy Orme, Stanley
Boardman, H. Hazell, Bert Oswald, Thomas
Booth, Albert Henig, Stanley Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)
Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret Owen, Will (Morpeth)
Bowden, Rt. Hn. Herbert Hooley, Frank Pardoe, John
Boyden, James Hooson, Emlyn Park, Trevor
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. Horner, John Parker, John (Dagenham)
Bradley, Tom Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)
Bray, Dr. Jeremy Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough) Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)
Brooks, Edwin Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.) Pentland, Norman
Broughton, Dr. A. D. D. Howell, Denis (Small Heath) Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)
Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper) Howie, W. Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)
Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan) Hoy, James Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.
Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.) Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey) Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)
Brown, R. W. (Shoreditch & F'bury) Hughes, Emrys (Ayrshire, S.) Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)
Buchan, Norman Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.) Price, William (Rugby)
Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn) Hughes, Roy (Newport) Probert, Arthur
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.) Hunter, Adam Purley, Cmdr. Harry
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green) Hynd, John Randall, Harry
Cant, R. B. Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill) Rankin, John
Carmichael, Neil Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh) Redhead, Edward
Carter-Jones, Lewis Janner, Sir Barnett Rees, Merlyn
Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford) Rhodes, Geoffrey
Chapman, Donald Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.) Richard, Ivor
Coe, Denis Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.) Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
Coleman, Donald Johnston, Russell (Inverness) Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
Concannon, J. D. Jones, Dan (Burnley) Roberts, Gwilym (Bedfordshire, S.)
Corbet, Mrs. Freda Judd, Frank Robertson, John (Paisley)
Craddock, George (Bradford, S.) Kenyon, Clifford Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow, E.)
Crawshaw, Richard Kerr, Mrs. Anne (R'ter & Chatham) Roebuck, Roy
Cronin, John Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central) Rose, Paul
Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony Kerr, Russell (Feltham) Ross, Rt. Hn. William
Cullen, Mrs. Alice Leadbitter. Ted Ledger, Ron Rowland, Christopher (Meriden)
Dalyell, Tam Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton) Rowlands, E. (Cardiff, N.)
Darling, Rt. Hn. George Lestor, Miss Joan Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)
Davidson, Arthur (Accrington) Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.) Sheldon, Robert
Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle) Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.
Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway) Lomas, Kenneth Shore, Peter (Stepney)
Davies, Harold (Leek) Loughlin, Charles Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)
Davies, Ifor (Gower) Luard, Evan Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)
Davies, Robert (Cambridge) Lubbock, Eric Silkin, John (Deptford)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr) Lyon, Alexander W. (York) Silkin, S. C. (Dulwich)
de Freitas, Sir Geoffrey Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.) Silverman, Julius (Aston)
Dempsey, James Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)
Dewar, Donald McBride, Neil Slater, Joseph
Dobson, Ray McCann, John Small, William
Doig, Peter MacColl, James Snow, Julian
Donnelly, Desmond Macdonald, A. H. Spriggs, Leslie
Driberg, Tom McGuire, Michael Steel, David (Roxburgh)
Dunn, James A. Mackenzie, Alasdair (Ross & Crom'ty) Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)
Dunnett, Jack Mackintosh, John P. Swain, Thomas
Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter) Maclennan, Robert Swingler, Stephen
Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e) McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.) Taverne, Dick
Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly) McNamara, J. Kevin Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Edwards, William (Merioneth) MacPherson, Malcolm Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Ellis, John Mahon, Peter (Preston S.) Thornton, Ernest
English, Michael Mallalieu, J.P.W. (Hudderefield, E.) Thorpe, Jeremy
Ensor, David Manuel, Archie Tinn, James
Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.) Mapp, Charles Tomney, Frank
Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley) Marquand, David Tuck, Raphael
Fernyhough, E. Mason, Roy Varley, Eric G.
Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley) Whitaker, Ben Winterbottom, R. E.
Wainwright, Richard (Coine Valley) Whitlock, William Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.
Walker, Harold (Doncaster) Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick Yates, Victor
Wallace, George Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch) Zililacus, K.
Watkins, David (Consett) Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)
Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor) Williams, W. T. (Warrington) TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Weitzman, David Willis, George (Edinburgh, E.) Mr. Waiter Harrison and
Wellbeloved, James Wilson, William (Coventry, S.) Mr. Harper.

It being after Seven o'clock, The CHAIRMAN left the Chair, further Proceeding standing postponed until after the consideration of Private Business set

down by direction of The CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS under Standing Order No. 7 (Time for Taking Private Business).

Mr. DEPUTY SPEAKER resumed the Chair.