HC Deb 03 November 1966 vol 735 cc646-7
28. Mr. Robert Cooke

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what action he proposes to take to restore the £25,000 loss of income to the University of Bristol Students Union due to the effect of the prices and wages standstill on the increase of the union grant agreed more than a year ago.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

I have explained to a deputation from the National Union of Students that the standstill applies to all fees and charges. I am, however, writing today to the Secretary of the National Union of Students to explain that under the terms of the White Paper on the Prices and Incomes standstill charges may be increased to the extent that the Selective Employment Tax paid in respect of all staff employed in Students Unions cannot otherwise be absorbed.

Mr. Cooke

That does not answer my Question at all. Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that £1 million of public money was provided by his Department to build this students' union and, because of the prices and wages freeze, the students are not able to make proper use of the building? Will he receive a deputation of Bristol University students if I bring it to him?

Mr. Roberts

I have already discussed the position of the Bristol Union with representatives of the national executive of the National Union of Students. I can assure the hon. Gentleman that they put the case for some easement at Bristol very fully to me. I think that I can say that I was able to be reasonably helpful about one or two ways in which possibly the position at Bristol could be eased.

Mr. Speaker

I should be grateful if the Minister would speak up when answering questions.