§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call the first Motion on the Order Paper, I have to announce to the House that I have not selected the two Amendments standing in the name of the hon. Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd), after 'expenditure' to insert:'and recognising that a Conservative Government would have attacked the present basis of all the social services, including education, deliberately introducing discriminatory systems nevertheless'and at the end to add:'and urges the Secretary of State for Education and Science to take effective steps to exclude in particular students from developing countries from this increase'or the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Ilford, North (Mr. Iremonger), at the end to add:believes that any desirable economy could better be made by adjusting overseas aid programmes, since no form of aid to developing countries is more advantageous than the equipping of the future leaders of these countries; particularly regrets that the students who will be prevented from studying here by this miserable exercise of bureaucratic parsimony are those likely to be of special value to their countries, namely those who are independently seeking further education on their own initiative and not at the behest and with the approval of legal régimes; believes that in any case such potential national leaders will not stay at home to strengthen local universities, but will seek their further education abroad, probably in countries whose educational systems are in thrall to evil and oppressive régimes of the Left; and, finally, believes that a Government that cuts public expenditure in this way while continuing unnecessarily to subsidise school meals and rich council tenants ought either to get its priorities sorted out or to resign and put its policies to the test of public opinion.'
§ Mr. Eric S. Heffer (Liverpool, Walton)
In view of the fact that we are left with two and three-quarter hours to discuss this vitally important question and that on most occasions Front Bench speakers at the beginning and the end of the debate take approximately half an hour each, this will leave three-quarters of an hour for back benchers. In view of the 1982 serious nature of the debate and the decision which the House, must take—there are many of us who are uncommitted one way or the other and wish to hear all the arguments very carefully—could the debate be extended for one hour? Alternatively, may we have an assurance that particularly the Front Bench speakers who are to wind up the debate will speak for only a quarter of an hour instead of the usual half an hour each?
§ Mr. Speaker
I can answer the hon. Gentleman very sympathetically. He will be aware that from time to time the Speaker makes appeals to right hon. and hon. Gentlemen to keep their speeches reasonably brief. Many hon. Members respond to the appeal; some do not. I have no power, however, to change today's timetable.
§ 4.17 p.m.
§ Mr. Reginald Maudling (Barnet)
I beg to move,That this House, while recognising the urgent need for economy in public expenditure, regrets the methods adopted by Her Majesty's Government in advising universities and local education authorities to increase fees for overseas students.I will do my best, in view of the interchange just concluded, to make my arguments in support of the Motion as concise as possible, as many other hon. Members wish to take part in this highly important debate. I need not labour at all the storm of protest which has arisen at the Government's decision—protest throughout the academic world, from student to professor, protest mirrored again in a debate recently in the other place when, I think, not a single voice was raised on behalf of the Government's policy, and protest which will, I believe, be voiced this evening in the House of Commons.
No one can oppose our Motion unless he is genuinely satisfied both with the Government's policy and their purpose in these matters and with the methods that the Government have adopted. Unless hon. Members are satisfied both with the Government's purpose and with their methods, they cannot possibly oppose it.
The reasons given by the Government for their action are simply financial. This was stated clearly in another place and has been echoed in the House. They say 1983 that there will be a saving, I think, starting at £2 million and rising to £5 million. I doubt that figure, and I want to know its basis. What assumption has the right hon. Gentleman made in putting forward this figure, first as to the effect of this move on the attendance of students at places of education in this country? We must have the figure from the Minister as to his assumption of the effect of these increases on students coming here.
Secondly, we must have the estimate he has made of the cost to the Exchequer of the measures announced since then to mitigate hardship. My guess is that they do not amount to very much, but we must know because the impression given so far by the Government is that the concessions they have made are of a major character. In assessing this argument of the Government's for this move—namely, the financial argument—we must be given a clear picture of precisely on what basis these figures are founded.
A second financial argument of considerable importance runs in the contrary direction. It is the balance of payments argument. Surely our balance of payments represent our most urgent financial problem, and surely the number of students who come to this country represent an asset to Britain. They add to the invisible-plus side of the balance of payments, and I hope, therefore, that the Minister will give the calculation which the Government have made of the effect of this measure on the balance of payments. No responsible Government could take a step of this kind without having made that calculation. And if they have made it, they should give it to the House.
I believe that the saving, in terms of the Budget. to he made by this decision will he very small indeed, and that it will be more than counterbalanced by the loss on the balance of payments that will arise from the diversion of many students who would otherwise have come to this country. It is for this very small gain indeed that the Government have taken this action. It has caused a sense of outrage throughout academic circles, not only in this country but in many parts of the world, and among many friends of this country.
The size of the increases in the charge is, after all, very large indeed. It is all 1984 very well for people to say that for students already here it is only £50. But in many of the countries from which these students come £50 is more than the total annual income of the average member of the population. This is, therefore, a very considerable sum—a swingeing increase—for many people, and the effect of it on the individuals concerned must surely be considered greatly to outweigh any gain that might be apparent to the taxpayers of this country.
The situation has been greatly aggravated by the manner of the announcement of this decision. The fact that it was announced in a Written Answer towards the end of term has caused great offence in wide circles. There appears to have been no proper consultation with the universities. Parliament has been told that the University Grants Committee was consulted, but we would like to know the nature of that consultation. Was there a meeting? What was done in advance? And was it consultation or merely information being given of a Government decision that had already been taken? Even if there were proper consultation, I do not believe that it can be considered to have been adequate consultation with the university world as a whole.
There has been an attempt by some Government spokesmen to argue that this measure is based on a recommendation of the Robbins Committee. That argument has been completely exploded, above all by Lord Robbins himself in another place, and I trust that we shall not hear that argument again.
I anticipate that when the Minister replies he will argue, first, the need for economy, and secondly, that the Government are applying the principle that care should be taken in spending the money which comes from the taxpayers' pocket—ensuring that it is given to those whose need can be established. We would accept both of those principles. We accept the need for economy in Government expenditure, and we have accepted that in the development of our social services more attention should be paid to concentrating aid from the taxpayer where it is most needed.
The party opposite has consistently taken the opposite view and has constantly opposed and criticised my hon. and right hon. Friends when we have said precisely that. But while we agree 1985 with the principle of concentrating aid where it is most needed and ensuring that the taxpayers' money is spent only on people who need the taxpayers' aid, the Government have gone about it on this occasion in a cackhanded way. They have shown an incredible lack of a sense of priority. They have introduced this principle into one sphere involving severe discrimination indeed. They are not applying the principle effectively, because for many if not for the majority of people who need it help will not in practice be given.
On the question of priorities, we have heard the classic phrase that the language of priorities is the religion of Socialism. The late Aneurin Bevan used to use that phrase. However, in this case the party opposite has picked out, for the application of this principle of need, a small category of students who deserve well of this country, who will suffer severely from what is being done and whose sacrifice will, I believe, bring little commensurate benefit to the British taxpayer.
The application of this principle of need is apparently confined to one sphere only, and I do not believe that it will be applied in the case of, for example, people who come here and who use our National Health Service. Surely it will ring a little oddly in the ears of overseas students who must pay these largely increased charges—in many cases catastrophic increases for them. It will ring oddly in their ears when they are told that they are to be subjected to this measure because the principle of determining need must be applied in their case. It will ring oddly in their ears because they will see at the same time that prescriptions are wholly free to everyone, regardless of need and regardless of the vast expense involved. They will also see school milk bills going up, housing subsidies and everything else. They will see that the people of this country have the indiscriminate distribution of benefits, with subsidies going ahead, while they are being told—these overseas students—that they are to be discriminated against in this action by the Government. There is clear discrimination here, and this has probably done more to anger people than anything else.
Whatever help the Government propose, that help is not going to assist the majority of people who need it. They 1986 are, the Government say, proposing to set up means of assisting individuals where hardship can be shown—that they will help people who come here with Government grants of one sort or another. But I believe that the majority of students do not come here on the shoulders of Governments, either this or their own. Many come here with the assistance of charitable organisations, and possibly the most deserving of all the students who come to this country are those who come as a result of their own families scraping the money together over a long period to ensure that the bright boy of the family can get the education they want him to have in Britain. Those are the students who will suffer the most, those are precisely the people who, so far as I can see, will get no help at all and who will have to bear the full burden of this increase. This is surely a proposition which is just not supportable in the House of Commons.
I said that I would be brief because a large number of hon. Members wish to contribute to the debate. I believe that there can be no more valuable a form of overseas aid than the provision of education. This is of particular value to overseas countries because, as we all know, the developing countries need not only technicians, administrators and teachers, but people who will go back to those countries to build up their own teaching organisations and so on. Nothing can be more valuable than aid given in the form of education. It is far better to train people to do their own jobs than to send out machinery or highly sophisticated modern equipment at enormous expense. Education is indeed a valuable form of aid. It is the type of aid which should be given top priority.
Aid in this form is also of considerable benefit to Britain, because it costs us nothing in foreign exchange and it means a great deal to our export trade. For the last couple of years I have done a great deal of travelling in different countries trying to sell British goods and services. I know from experience that nothing gives us greater advantage in this competitive world than meeting people who have been educated and trained in Britain, because they automatically look first to Britain for the goods they wish to buy and the help for which they want to pay. I cannot emphasise too strongly 1987 that this form of aid is the best possible we can give and the one that costs us the least of all.
I sum up by saying that unless any hon. Member genuinely believes that he agrees with both the Government's objectives and their methods in this matter, he must support my hon. and right hon. Friends in the Division Lobby tonight. This measure has been carried out on the basis of a domestic financial saving which is wholly unproved as yet and which, if it exists, will probably be more than counterbalanced by the loss to our balance of payments. The whole matter has been handled in a totally inept fashion and without adequate consultation with those most affected. Above all, the Government are introducing a degree of discrimination against those who, in most cases, are least equipped to look after themselves. It is for these reasons that I urge all hon. Members to support us in the Division to-night.
§ 4.30 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Anthony Crosland)
The right hon. Gentleman the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) has spoken with commendable brevity. I shall take slightly longer than he did, because in the last few weeks some millions of words of criticism have poured over my head and I want to take this opportunity to make a full reply on behalf of the Government.
This decision, which is being debated this afternoon, has aroused an exceptional amount of controversy, even though the party opposite has come into the argument rather late in the day. I have a great deal of sympathy with the idealistic motives which underlie much of the criticism, and with the concern which has been expressed about overseas aid, the principle of non-discrimination, and our responsibility for the developing countries. Yet I must also say that much of the criticism has been unrealistic, self-contradictory, and wholly unrelated to the facts; and some of the language used, even or, indeed, particularly, by eminent academics, has bordered on the hysterical. I shall try today to present a reasoned case, which I hope will convince the great majority of the critics.
1988 The background to our decision was as follows. Educational spending has been rising, over the last three or four years, at a rate of about 5 per cent. a year. Despite this, we are under heavy pressure in the education service, partly because we all want higher standards, and partly for demographic reasons which mean that we shall have a million additional pupils in the schools between 1965 and 1971. So I am pressed at every Question Time, and rightly so, and by innumerable deputations, for still more educational spending—on Plowden, on nursery schools, more teachers, more school building, more for going comprehensive, more for industrial training, more for the universities, more for science and so on indefinitely.
In this situation, it is not in dispute that I should look for reasonable economies wherever they can be found, so that the most essential spending can go ahead unchecked. The question is: is this a reasonable economy? I believe that it is, and I shall try to explain why.
First, and this has been ignored in almost all the public discussion, it is customary to review university fees at the beginning of each quinquennium. They were last reviewed in 1962, when they were increased all round by 25 per cent. They were again due for review this year, before the beginning of the next quinquennium. So the Government had to take a decision on fees of one kind or another.
Secondly, the fee situation, given our peculiar and unique system of financing higher education, has grown increasingly farcical. For full-time and sandwich courses in advanced further education, the average fee is £40; the cost of the course, £600. For university education, the average fee is £70; the average cost of the course, including post-graduates, well over £800. Thus fees cover, on average, less than 10 per cent. of the cost of the course. The remaining 90 per cent. comes mainly as a general subsidy from public funds.
This situation—and this was the third argument for doing something—has come under increasing criticism in recent years. The Robbins Committee recommended that all fees should be raised to a point where they covered at least 20 per cent. of recurrent costs. The Select Committee 1989 on Estimates endorsed this recommendation in the summer of 1965.
Both these Committees, although they recommended an all-round increase in fees, drew special attention to overseas students' fees. The Robbins Committee pointed out that these involved… a substantial subsidy over which the nation has no control".The Estimates Committee—whose Report, incidentally, was signed by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Birmingham, Handsworth (Sir E. Boyle), with a number of hon. Members from both sides of the House, said that fees for overseas students… should be raised to a fairer level".
§ Mr. Crosland
No, I shall not give way. It is not fair on other hon. Members who wish to speak.
Fourthly, the amount of this…substantial subsidy over which the nation has no control"—to quote Robbins—had grown dramatically in the last few years. This country is, I am glad to say, attractive to overseas students for many reasons of language, history and tradition; and successive Governments have rightly pursued an open-door policy. There has, in consequence, been a large increase in the numbers of overseas students. If we take the universities, 10 years ago there were 9,000; five years ago there were 13,000; last year there were over 16,000. There has been a comparable rise in the numbers in further education, and the total in both sectors is now well over 32,000. In fact, the total number of overseas students following courses of various kinds in this country is 71,000.
The result has been a large increase in the amount of the subsidy. So far as the universities are concerned, the subsidy to overseas students had risen from £3 million 10 years ago, to £6 million five years ago, to £12 million last year. In further education, where we do not have figures for 10 years ago, the increase was from £3 million five years ago to £6 million last year. So, in the last five years, the total subsidy rose from £10 million to £18 million—a rise of 80 per cent., compared with a rise in 1990 our overall educational budget of just over 50 per cent. On plausible assumptions, the subsidy would have risen to £20 million next year, and perhaps to £25 million by the end of the decade.
And this, it has to be remembered, is a wholly indiscriminate subsidy. About 7,000 of the 32,000 overseas students who had nine-tenths of their fees subsidised from British public funds came from countries with a national income per head as high as or higher than our own—the United States, the old Dominions, Western Europe, Scandinavia; while certainly not all the students from the Middle East, from India, or from Pakistan came from poor families.
In the light of these considerations, and the heavy pressure on our educational budget, I do not know whether it is seriously suggested that the Government should have done nothing to bring this open-ended, indiscriminate, and rapidly-increasing subsidy under control. I should have thought that the case for doing something was irresistible. The Government considered, and rejected for reasons which I shall describe in a moment, an all-round increase in fees. But they decided that something must be done to limit the rate of increase in the subsidy to overseas students.
We could, of course, have reversed the open-door policy, and tried to impose some form of sub-rosa quota. But it seemed better and more honest to increase the fees. So we decided on an increase in fees designed to produce £2 million next year, and ultimately £5 million in a full year. Once taken, the decision was announced as quickly as possible, since universities and colleges begin to deal with applications for admission early in the new year. If we had delayed, candidates might have been accepted, and then found themselves faced with very much higher fees. So I announced the decision on 21st December, which was five days after the last date on which applications were required at the clearing house, but before any decisions on them were reached.
As to consultation, which the right hon. Gentleman mentioned, this was essentially a financial decision about the amount of support which the Government were willing to give to higher education. It would, therefore, not have been appropriate to consult at all widely, any more 1991 than it would be with any other major decision on Government expenditure. But we did consult the University Grants Committee. It is not the practice to disclose the advice which the U.G.C. gives the Government, but I can say that we would not have taken a step of this kind if the U.G.C. had advised against it in principle.
The figures of students affected are by now fairly well known. Out of 71,000 overseas students, 39,000 are in institutions which will not be affected at all. Of the remaining 32,000 who will be affected, about a quarter come from developed countries. The rest—24,000—come from developing countries. Of these, about 2,500 are students on British Government or British Council grants, and these will be unaffected both now and in the future since the higher fees will be paid by the British Government out of an increase in overseas aid funds. In addition, there are about 6,000 students on grants from the Governments of developing countries, and in their case, so far as students already embarked on a course are concerned, the increase of £50 will be reimbursed out of a special Government fund.
This leaves some 16,000 students from developing countries who are not financed in these ways. Not all of them, of course—and I must insist on this in view of the things which have been said—are by any means poor. Nevertheless, I said from the start that there might be some residual hardship. The sort of cases we all have in mind are the unsponsored students, already embarked on courses, who have to rely on their families, their villages, or their own earnings for their finance. I received some evidence of this when, with my hon. friends the Minister of State and the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, I met the National Union of Students and the Scottish Union of Students on 8th February.
In the light of the evidence which I have heard, I have decided that there are two ways in which we should help. First, I intend to ensure that students already embarked on a sequence of courses—for example, A levels to be followed by an undergraduate course—should not have to curtail their studies by being faced with a large increase in fee when they move from one course to the next. I do not 1992 want to give the exact definitions today, as I want to consult the appropriate authorities. But I intend the result to be that few students already in this country will be called upon to pay more than an increase of £50 a year.
Secondly, as I announced last week, I propose to set up a transitional fund to enable grants to be made towards the increased fees in cases where hardships can reasonably be claimed. This is directed mainly towards the needs of unsponsored students from developing countries. I now intend to draft a memorandum of guidance which I shall discuss with the local authorities, the universities, and other interests involved. We can debate the details in due course, since the fund will be the subject of a Supplementary Estimate. Our objective is that no existing overseas student should have to give up his studies simply because he cannot find the extra £50.
These are the short-term easements which we propose to meet the position of students already in this country. I also intend, in consultation with the Minister of Overseas Development and in collaboration with the universities, the local authorities, and other interests concerned, to keep the long-term situation under review.
I hope that these various easements, while they will leave the greater part of the savings intact, will satisfy those who have been particularly concerned with unsponsored students from the developing countries.
I must turn to the two major criticisms of principle which have been made of the Government's decision. They are mutually inconsistent, though this has not prevented a lot of the critics from using them both at the same time.
The first criticism is that what is wrong with our decision was not that we put up overseas students' fees, but only that we failed simultaneously to put up British students' fees. This was the criticism of Lord Robbins, who made it clear, as had his Committee, that he strongly favoured a rise in overseas students' fees provided only that other fees also rose.
This is the only criticism open to members of the Estimates Committee, who—and they included the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Handsworth—also proposed an increase in both overseas 1993 students' and British students' fees. And it is the only criticism open to a considerable number of vice-chancellors, who have proposed that the standard fee for all students, home and overseas, should be substantially raised.
I call this the vice-chancellors' criticism. Incidentally, while it must be a pleasant change for the vice-chancellors to be able to earn, for once, the plaudits of the National Union of Students, I wonder just how many of the students realise that what the vice-chancellors are proposing is a general increase in all fees at home and overseas. There might be less amity if they realised this.
This criticism objects not to the principle of raising overseas students' fees, but only to the fact that it was done in an allegedly discriminatory manner. These critics cannot, in other words, complain that the higher fees will have damaging effects on the number of overseas students, our export trade, the developing countries, or whatever it may be, because they also, in a different context, wanted higher fees. In fact, a lot of them do so complain. Indeed with the notable exception of Lord Robbins, whose logic at least is impeccable, almost all the speakers in last week's debate in another place did so complain.
Some prominent vice-chancellors have been equally inconsistent. In fact, some of those who in the past have been the most vociferous in supporting an all-round rise in fees, like Sir Douglas Logan, are now the first to point out the disastrous effects which the higher overseas fees will have.
As to the alleged discrimination, I want to be clear about one thing. Whatever it is, it does not involve nationality, race, birth or origin; and those who suggest that it does are doing a profound disservice to the cause which they support. The increased fees will apply to students who have come into higher education in Britain after less than three years residence here. Within this definition, the details of which I shall be discussing, we make no distinction, and shall make no distinction between black and white, between Asian and European, between African and North American. I hope I have made that finally and totally clear.
So no element of race or nationality comes into this. But, apart from that, 1994 is it really true that we are creating a new and unprecedented distinction between British and overseas students? As a matter of logic, it certainly is not true. There was already discrimination long before we took this decision. British students for the most part do not pay their own fees, which are met out of British public funds. Overseas students, on the other hand, for the most part do pay their own fees; and indeed they are the only students that do. So the discrimination already existed. It would not have disappeared if we had put up the fees all round, as many vice-chancellors proposed.
Virtually every British student would have had the higher fee automatically met from public funds; the overseas student, except for those whom we are cushioning, would have paid the higher fee himself. The one would be financially unaffected, the other would pay the increase. There might have been a greater appearance of equity, but it would have been a fake, a charade, a piece of window-dressing. It might have satisfied the vice-chancellors and Lord Robbins; I cannot believe it would for long have deceived the overseas students.
So much for the logic of the discrimination argument. I do not want to rely wholly on logic. We are discussing a matter in which sentiment and emotion play a large part. Let us forget the logic, and ask whether we should simultaneously have raised the fees for British students, so as to avoid even the appearance of discrimination? Could we, in fact, have done this in 1967, quite apart from the merits, on which people are divided? In my view we could not have done this.
The greater part of the fees of British students, over 95 per cent. of the fees of undergraduates, are paid out of local authority awards. So if we increased these fees, while the Government would save money on the quinquennial grant, the local authorities would have to find more money. In other words, we should simply be transferring expenditure from central government to local government—just at a moment when we are trying to limit the rate burden.
The critics say we could adjust the rate support grant to local authorities to cover the higher fees. I hope I shall not bore the House, but I must answer this point rather exactly, since various 1995 people have quoted the Treasury's evidence to the Robbins Committee.
By last December, the rate support grant for 1967–68 and 1968–69 had already been settled. It could, of course, have been reopened to cover an increase in fees, but only on the existing formula. Under this formula the extra cost, like the original cost, is shared between ratepayer and taxpayer, with the ratepayer finding about 45 per cent. If we had increased all British university students' fees to the point where they met the 20 per cent. of recurrent cost proposed by Robbins and the Estimates Committee, this would have meant over £8 million on the rates, or about Id. in the £.
For comparison, the Government's proposed relief to the domestic ratepayer under the Local Government Act will provide relief amounting to 5d. in the £ each year. So a general increase to the Robbins figure would have wiped out 20 per cent. of this relief, quite apart from being inequitable between one local authority and another.
So this, in my view, was not a serious proposition. However, it is true that it would be technically possible by legislation to make a specific 100 per cent. grant which would avoid any extra burden on the rates; and this is no doubt what the Treasury witnesses to Robbins had in mind. But this would be subject to major drawbacks.
First, it would not be possible, either in principle or in practice, to confine the special 100 per cent. grant to the increase in fees, while paying only the normal lower percentage grant on existing fee expenditure. The whole fee expenditure would inevitably have to be treated as one and receive 100 per cent. Exchequer grant.
Second, and much more important, the Government would then be departing from the basic principle laid down in the recent Local Government Act, namely, that, with rare exceptions—such as cost protection—where the burden falls only on a few authorities, Exchequer assistance to local authorities should take the form of a general grant in aid of the rates.
I hope that nobody thinks that these arguments are unduly theoretical. If anybody does, I should add that when the possibility of a general rise in fees 1996 was raised, informally and without commitment, with the local authority associations, they replied that they were against any increase in British students' fees and would be strongly opposed to any substantial increase. Their view was clearly expressed by Sir William Alexander in Education, the journal of the Association of Education Committees, on 10th February when he wrote—and was the first person to do so—It is difficult to argue against the decision which the Secretary of State has made.It would not have been possible to put up all fees in what is described as a non-discriminatory manner.
I now turn to the second major criticism, which is, of course, quite inconsistent with the first, namely, that the increase in overseas students' fees was wrong in principle, whether or not it was accompanied by any increase in British students' fees—wrong because it would drastically reduce the number of overseas students coming to Britain; and this would be bad for Britain and bad for the developing countries.
Now part of this argument is pure self-interest. It is said, for example, that among the post-graduate students who may be excluded by the higher fees could be the next Lord Florey from Australia, or the next Lord Rutherford from New Zealand. This is an absurd argument. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] For the reason which I am about to give. In the year in which Lord Florey came to this country, the number of overseas students in British universities was 3,800. Last year, it was over 16,000, and that takes no account of another 16,000 in the technical colleges. So our chances of receiving new Floreys or Rutherfords have been rather high in recent years, and will remain exceedingly high whatever the level of fees.
I take much more seriously the argument that the higher fees may damage the developing countries: that they will deny students from Africa and Asia an education which they cannot find in their own countries, but which they desperately need both for their own sakes and for the sake of their emergent nations.
Now, in fact, there are two views, as we saw last week, about how far it benefits the developing nations to send large numbers of students to Britain, in view of the fact that once here they often stay 1997 here, or go to some other country which is even more well-off. We discussed this in the House last week in connection with the brain drain, when a number of hon. Members—for example, my hon. Friend the Member for Exeter (Mrs. Gwyneth Dunwoody)—pointed out that the really tragic brain drain was from the underdeveloped countries to the wealthy countries.
For example, in the summer of 1965, out of approximately 1,500 overseas students who took post-graduate degrees in this country, 1,000 returned to their own countries, while the rest either stayed here or went to some other country. In the United States, as Professor Brinley Thomas has pointed out in a recent article,Of Iran's 6,000 students in America, only about 50 per cent. are returning. The same seems to be true of students from countries such as India, Korea, Egypt, Pakistan, Greece, Colombia and Jordan.But I do not want to make too much of this argument, serious though I think it is, because it might seem paternalistic. It is, after all, up to the developing countries themselves to decide what is in their interests, and in any case this argument played no part in our decision.
But I must answer the criticism that I am callously denying large numbers of Asian or African students an education which they cannot find in their own countries. This criticism assumes two things, neither of which I accept. First, it assumes that large numbers of students will be deterred by the higher fees from coming here. I doubt this. In recent years, the number of applications from overseas has considerably exceeded the number of available places. We have to remember that the fee is only a proportion of the cost of coming here. The overseas student must find the fare. He must find, on British Council calculations, an average of about £600 a year for the cost of living here, exclusive of the fee—though I fully accept that some students are living on less.
An increase of £50 in the fee for those already here, and even £180 for future students, may therefore not reduce the numbers by anything like the amount that some critics have suggested. There is no historical evidence that changes in the fee level greatly alter the flow of students. At any rate, I estimate that the saving will come mainly not from 1998 a large reduction in the number of students, but from the higher fee paid by continuing high numbers. But, supposing I am wrong and there is a substantial reduction, will this deprive large numbers of overseas students of an education which they could not otherwise obtain?
I am not sure that all hon. Members realise how great a change has occurred in recent years, or how many of the developing countries now have their own universities, often created with our support. The Vice-Chancellor of Sussex, who is one of our greatest authorities on these matters, has recently reminded us that in 1946, in the whole of our colonial and former colonial territories, there were only two small university institutions. But today, in Africa alone, and speaking only of our former colonial territories, there are some 20 universities or university colleges, and in South-East Asia, the Far East and the Caribbean, at least another 10. These have been largely built, I am glad to say, with British capital and staffed from British universities.
As a result, as Lord Fulton pointed out, undergraduate education is becoming available to increasing numbers of young people in their own countries. Today, accordingly, there is less need to offer undergraduate places here, except for particular subjects and particular territories, where there are as yet no university institutions. We are very conscious of these exceptions—for example, countries such as Cyprus and Mauritius—and we shall bear them specially in mind in working out our cushioning devices.
But—and I must make these points because they have not yet appeared in any of the public discussions—it is not only that many of the developing countries now have their own universities. It is also that many of these universities have empty places. I mention this not to justify our decision, which was not taken on these grounds, but to rebut one of the most common arguments used against it.
Hon. Members may have seen a letter to the Observer recently, written by a Professor at Fourah Bay College in Sierra Leone—a college which some hon. Members will know. I would like to quote part of this letter:—There exist throughout Africa good universities which have been largely built and 1999 equipped from outside funds. Most departments in these universities suffer from an acute shortage of good students.Many university departments in Africa could double or treble their intake.I am convinced that the only way to strengthen African universities is…to encourage Africans to utilise their own excellent institutions. I would, of course, make an exception in the case of highly specialised subjects that cannot be taught in Africa, but these are few.This may be an exceptional case, but it is not unique. I had a letter recently from one of our most famous academics, a Fellow of the Royal Society. I would like to quote some sentences from it:—I believe that undergraduate or F.E. students should take their 1st degrees at their home Universities in developing countries, and that the important role for Britain is to take the post graduate students for whom there are no home based facilities.I visited the University of Ghana in December, and was told that they are extremely short of scientists and mathematicians in their intake. The staff numbers are such that they could easily quadruple the number of science students they can teach.So, while there are exceptions which I have mentioned, it is clear that our role should increasingly he to provide postgraduate facilities. It is these which are conspicuously lacking in the developing countries; and we have a clear duty to provide them until those countries can build up their own post-graduate schools. But this is precisely what we are doing and shall continue to do. Of the overseas students from developing countries now in Britain, some 5,000 are post-graduates. These are the students who are least likely to suffer from the higher fees. Some 80 per cent. of the students on British Government grants, whose fees will be fully made up, are post-graduates; and overseas Governments typically give preference to postgraduates. So the category which everybody thinks the most important is the category least likely to be affected by the higher fees.
So for all these reasons and bearing in mind the concessions which I have announced, I cannot accept that we are harming the developing countries. The only thing which I ask of critics this afternoon is that they should declare which lire of criticism they are making and not try to have it both ways. They must either say, like Lord Robbins and the Vice-Chancellors, that they would 2000 have been willing to have increased overseas students' fees, if only British students' fees had been raised at the same time. In that case, they cannot talk about the damage which the higher fees might do to the developing countries or whatever it might be, since their own policy would have led to the same result. And they must explain to the House how they would have raised home students' fees in the context of the rate support grant.
If, on the other hand, they are opposed to higher overseas fees in principle, whether or not accompanied by higher British fees, then they can talk about the damage which the higher fees might do. But then they must answer this question. Do they regard the present level of overseas students' fees as sacrosanct? It was, after all, increased by 25 per cent. in 1962, and might well have been increased again this year as part of the normal quinquennial review.
Is there any point at which they would have brought this open-ended subsidy under control? It had risen by 80 per cent. over the last five years; we estimate that it would have risen by a further 40 per cent. by 1970. In the light of this, and what Robbins and the Estimates Committee said, would they simply have sat back and done nothing? They really must tell the House whether, how, and when they would have introduced some logic into this situation.
And they must really keep their criticism in perspective. I have been profoundly shocked by the near-hysterical reaction of some of the university critics. The Vice-Chancellor of Manchester said:this is an evil decision; what is at stake is our idea of the university".The Vice-Chancellor of Sheffield said itwould affect Britain's position as a world leader in advanced education.The Vice-Chancellor of Liverpool called itinhuman, foolish and autocratic.Others have spoken of our returning to the Middle Ages. Incidentally, no one would guess, listening to these papal edicts, that the vice-chancellors were strongly in favour of increasing all students' fees, for overseas as well as home students.
I do not mind being called a Fascist by the students, if only because I can 2001 remember shouting "Fascist" at Lord Attlee when I was a student. At least it seems to have done him no permanent harm. But this sort of intemperate language from the senior common-room is really not helpful. It is simply not related to the real world. In the real world, the number of overseas students in British universities is nearly double what it was 10 years ago, and four times what it was before the war.
In the real world, Britain has an exceptionally high proportion of overseas students, higher than almost any other European country, and will continue to be highly attractive to students from overseas. In the real world, we have cushioned the higher fees in the various crucial ways which I have mentioned. In the real world, the fees will still cover on average only one-third of the cost of higher education; most of the remaining two-thirds will be a subsidy from public funds. And in the real world, even after the increase, the total subsidy, which was £10 million five years ago, will probably be £18 million next year, and could easily rise to £20 million by 1970. This makes total nonsense of the wild language used by these eminent academic leaders.
Of course I have a responsibility to overseas students. But I have other responsibilities as well—to slum and handicapped children in Britain and, if we are talking of people from overseas, to immigrant children in Sparkbrook and Southall. I hope in this context that no hon. Member will argue that £2 million or ₣5 million is chicken-feed or a trivial sum. It would build a host of new nursery or infant schools in Plowden areas.
So, since Socialism is said to be about priorities, I thought it right to strike a balance, and not to continue to pay an indiscriminate subsidy of 90 per cent. to all overseas students, rich or poor, from America or Nigeria.
§ Mr. Crosland
I shall not give way because so many of my hon. Friends wish to speak.
I thought the right balance was not to make a savage cut in the subsidy, but to bring it under control, to limit its 2002 rate of increase, and to align it more clearly with overseas aid policy.
No financial economy is agreeable; and we took this decision reluctantly. But despite all the volume of criticism, I am still convinced it was a reasonable decision, and I commend it to the House.
§ 5.4 p.m.
§ Mr. Richard Hornby (Tonbridge)
After listening to the right hon. Gentleman's criticisms of the emotional language which has come from senior common rooms one cannot help wondering what his views on this Measure would have been a few years ago when he himself was in one of those common rooms.
In his speech the Minister has given us a great deal more of the background to this decision. I do not think any of us would pretend that this is an easy matter. It is a complicated matter in terms of the finances of British universities and also in terms of taking the right decisions for British aid and in terms of the relationship between British education and the education of overseas countries. This needs careful and delicate handling. It needs careful handling because of the complications involved and delicate handling because, as the right hon. Gentleman said, it is an emotional issue and feelings about it get loudly expressed and widely reported and can do damage in a very sensitive area.
My plea to the right hon. Gentleman and my criticism of his handling of this matter is that it bears all the signs of having been a hurriedly chosen economy, all the signs—in fact we know it was—of being a policy announced in a whisper. Therefore, the criticism of it gathered speed and began to have a widespread effect long before the facts of the situation were made known by the right hon. Gentleman. In that he made a serious error in handling the situation. Only now some of the ground on which he has based his decision is becoming known. Hitherto the argument made by the Leader of the House in another place was that it was a purely financial decision. On a subsequent occasion the right hon. Gentleman said, and he made it part of his argument today, that it also had beneficial effects for education in developing countries overseas.
§ Mr. Crosland
I am sorry to interrupt the hon. Member but this is most important. I never tried to give the impression that that was one of the reasons for the decision. I was trying to rebut the argument that it would have a damaging effect.
§ Mr. Hornby
I take the right hon. Gentleman's point, but if he has to rebut that argument it emphasises some of the doubts which existed in people's minds about the reasons for this Measure.
I declare my position quite clearly. I shall make three points and I want to be as brief as possible. My first point is that, so far as I have been able to work it out, I would not have objected to the overall raising of all student fees. I recognise the problems of university finance. I believe that the arguments for a greater proportion of their finances coming from sources other than direct from the U.G.C. are valid and, having read what Lord Robbins said about the Treasury evidence on this matter, I am not convinced that we could not make it possible to produce those sources of finance without a load going straight on to the rates.
As the right hon. Gentleman quite properly admits one is faced with the problem of having to accept that this would have meant some discrimination. That may be so but, if it were to be so, surely before taking what is in fact a discriminatory decision let us explain in which areas we want to discriminate. My objection is that this announcement was made without any appearance of a coherent policy for our relations with overseas students, by the linking of the new policy with the aid programme so that we could compensate some of the students involved.
We can cover those coming on a Government basis and cope with them through the aid programme. We can cover also some of the burden falling, as the right hon. Gentleman explained, on those already here. There are, however, a great many others. They may be coming from developed countries; in which case have we heard anything about reciprocal arrangements of this kind and whether such things can be negotiated? Is this not something we should have discussed and looked at as we have done in the case of many other social services?
2004 Another category of students are those who are coming here under their own steam as best they can from developing countries. In which institutions have we room for them, or which of those do we feel that we want to help without doing any damage to institutions in their own countries? Is not this again something which should have been considered and presented as part of a coherent policy?
The remaining point I want to make is a financial one. The Secretary of State said that he would save initially £2 million rising to £5 million and that the figures, because of the growing appetite for education, may go on rising. How much in fact will he save by this measure? There is a counter-balancing flow of money coming in, as my right hon. Friend said. This is very difficult to measure, but I believe that there are substantial subsequent benefits for the British economy because of the many contacts developed, especially in the technical field. This is not a negligible aspect.
We are concerned with a major chunk of overseas aid, both on current account and in the capital equipment which is used. My own view is that educational aid is probably about the most effective of all types of aid. This is not a newly-found view which I have espoused because the Government have introduced this measure. In 1962, when the Robbins Committee was taking evidence, I myself, with one of the present Ministers of State for Foreign Affairs, led a deputation to give evidence to that Committee and argued the point for a substantial chunk of facilities and places remaining available in higher education to overseas students. We argued it because, first, we thought that this was an important international presence in institutions of higher education. We argued it, secondly, because we felt that by doing this we were serving the needs of developing countries in particular who needed our help. We argued the case, thirdly, from the purely self-interested aspect that this was good long-term for Britain.
I believe now, more than ever, that it is good long term for Britain that these students should continue to come, because we are trying to feel our way and to understand what it means to be a medium-sized Power which wishes to exert influence and to play a proper part in the world. We can do this only if we stand 2005 for what we are, a country with many highly developed educational and industrial aspects of our life which is anxious to play a full role in the scientific revolutions of today and in helping developing countries. I personally believe that we could show our sincerity in our desire to play this role by continuing to allow overseas students to come.
I personally believe that they will come in much fewer numbers, unless we can think much more clearly about what we are trying to do, because we are the second most expensive country in the world for many of these students. They have plenty of choices from many other countries. We cannot accept an open-ended policy, but within limits we must try to make is possible for most of them to come. I believe that this policy should have been much more carefully thought out and presented, and that it will not yield the economies the Secretary of State suggests but will do damage to British reputation and influence abroad.
§ 5.13 p.m.
§ Mr. Philip Noel-Baker (Derby, South)
May I declare my interest in today's debate; the reasons why I have sought to catch your eye, Mr. Speaker? In a life of varied activity, I have held two posts of very different but, for today's purpose, related, kinds. For a period of years I held a professorial chair in the university of London. For a similar period of years I held the office of Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations.
A large proportion of my pupils in London were from overseas—young men and women from the old Dominions, from Africa, from Asia, from Europe and from the United States. Still, today, from time to time, I meet them. A very large proportion of them have risen to eminence in the national life of their respective countries, due, no doubt, to my tuition. They have risen to eminence in politics, in the judiciary, in education, in their civil services, in diplomacy, in business life.
The Government are now engaged in a battle to restore the solvency of Britain by securing equilibrium in our balance of trade. It is not a short-term problem. It is a long-term problem. For many years, exports and re-exports will be of supreme importance to us all.
2006 I venture the assertion that, of all the re-exports that we make, incomparably the most significant and the most valuable, over the last 50 years, have been these young men and women who come here and go back with the incomparable training which our universities have given to them. The value of their training here has repaid itself to us in various ways—political, cultural, economic and financial.
May I give three examples of men whom I could call my friends. The late Prime Minister of India, Mr. Nehru, spent the same four years at Cambridge that I spent there. He rendered an incalculable service to India, to Britain and to the world, when, after 30 years' struggle, he brought India to self-government and independence, without any bloodshed, except the short and lamentable episode at Amritsar many years ago. Is it conceivable that Mr. Nehru could have been able to do that, if he had not understood the British character and British thinking, if he had not had British friends in every walk of life?
Liaquat Ali Khan was a great Prime Minister of Pakistan, a great friend of the Commonwealth. He played a part in the partition of India, for which we and the world owed him a great debt of gratitude. He could not have played that part had he not lived through his university life in Britain.
The present Prime Minister of Ceylon, Mr. Dudley Senanayake, is a Cambridge man. In his first Cabinet he had seven other Cambridge men. I am sorry to say that it lasted only a few months. But he is now back in power and he is guiding Ceylon, to the great benefit of our true British national interest, towards prosperity and progress, with the same kind of Parliamentary democracy that we have here.
The Government's plan, however the Secretary of State may describe it, will keep out of this country a large number of overseas students who otherwise would come, and who can tell if some of them may be men of the calibre of Nehru, Liaquat and Senanayake, of whom I have spoken.
§ Mr. Robert Howarth (Bolton, East)
I have the highest respect for my right 2007 hon. Friend, but are not the three examples he has used rather unfortunate ones in this context, in that they happen to come from families who were quite rich enough to send those children over here? This is one of the telling points against the argument he is deploying, that many of the students from developing countries do come from middle-class families.
§ Mr. Noel-Baker
I have the highest regard for my hon. Friend's opinion, but I would say that he is precisely and completely wrong. What I am arguing is that it is the poorer people who will be kept out. I do not concede that the able, the exceptional, the Nehru-type man, comes only from the richer classes. He comes from the poorer classes, too.
May I now, with respect to my hon. Friend the Member for Bolton, East (Mr. Robert Howarth), follow the Deputy Leader of the Opposition in the second argument that he used? We are today giving 1 per cent. of our national income for economic aid to overseas countries. I hope that it may soon be 2 per cent. At present, it amounts to nearly £250 million a year. This aid is given to make these countries prosperous, to increase their wealth, to make them economically independent. It is our major national interest that it shall succeed.
The other day, the United States Census Bureau published figures showing that for any country in the world the gross national product is in exact relation to its investment in education. I believe that our cutting of this form of aid is a supreme example of what I regard as the unwisdom of trying to save a ha'p'orth of tar.
I listened to the Secretary of State, as I always do, with great respect. I should have liked him to compare the economies he is making with the £20 million we are to spend this year on civil defence, and to ask which would the more increase the real strength of Britain. My right hon. Friend made a most persuasive speech. I admit the validity of many of the arguments he used. But I am certain that this decision is not his. It was forced upon him by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It was a great defeat, and I hope that our debate this afternoon will put it right.
§ 5.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Nicholas Scott (Paddington, South)
I should be the last to call the Secretary of State a Fascist, but wondered at one time whether he was putting in a bid for the Governorship of California in the action he has taken on this question.
I add to what has been said by my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby) and my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) in complaining about the lack of consultation and notice on this decision. There was the quiet surreptitious Written Answer on 21st December last, which, as the Secretary of State was generous enough to acknowledge, came five days after the closing date for applications coming into the Central Council. In my view, it smacks somewhat of a breach of faith that, five days after the closing date for applications, the price is suddenly bumped up.
The Secretary of State spoke rather as though 1967 had come upon him suddenly, as though the Government had not realised that the quinquennium was starting and a decision had to be made about fees. He found no difficulty in raising informally and without commitment with the local government associations the question of raising fees, yet he did not find it possible to raise informally and without commitment this other question with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors or any student or other university body, apart from the University Grants Committee.
This lack of consultation smacks of interference from outside the Department of Education and Science and of the decision having been forced upon the Secretary of State. The lack of consultation on this issue compares rather unfavourably with the fanfare of trumpets which accompanied the dinner to which the vice-chancellors were entertained by the Prime Minister shortly after his taking office, when the vice-chancellors were invited in, wined and dined, and told how important they were and how crucial their role was in the life of the country.
When a decision is taken on a matter such as this which vitally concerns the vice-chancellors, however, they are not even consulted beforehand. I gather that the Prime Minister has now brushed 2009 them off and refused to receive a delegation of vice-chancellors, passing them on to the Secretary of State, who has brushed them off today as a hysterical bunch. It does not seem to me that the vice-chancellors will get very much joy out of the Secretary of State. That is the first complaint—no consultation and lack of notice.
I do not know—I am not clear in my own mind—what the Government's purpose is in taking this action, whether it is, as the Secretary of State seemed to suggest in his speech at the School of African and Oriental Studies, and as he suggested in part today, that large numbers of students will be kept in their own countries and not come here, or whether it is, as his hon. Friend suggested in the Adjournment debate the other day, that we still want as many students as possible to come to this country, maintaining the present numbers and getting more money out of them. I am not sure which side the Secretary of State came down on today, because at different points in his speech he seemed to be riding the two different horses.
Judging from the debate in the other place, the Government have made no assessment yet of the likely impact of their decision upon the number of students coming to this country. We have heard calculations from people involved in this matter, on the one side, that there will be a reduction of about 8,000 coming over the next two years and that the number will decrease, particularly among the poorest and those coming from the developing countries, and, on the other hand, it is said that there would be no impact at all. Both assessments have been made by responsible people actively involved in this work. We ought to have an assessment from the Government indicating their idea of the likely impact of the action which they have announced.
The Secretary of State was at pains to talk about the purpose of cutting down what he called the open-ended commitment. To an extent, however, it is still an open-ended commitment. There are no physical controls put upon it. The level of fees has been raised, but no lid has been put on, so to that extent it is still open-ended, although action has been taken in the short term to raise the money we shall receive in fees from overseas students.
2010 The Government have chosen a clumsy and crude way of imposing a control. It is a discriminatory act, but, as my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge said, discriminatory in the wrong way in that it does not discriminate in favour of the needy. It discriminates against students simply because they come from overseas.
The right hon. Gentleman spent a lot of time explaining the inconsistency between the two arguments, the one which says that all fees should be raised, the other that overseas students' fees should not be raised. The Robbins Report suggested that all fees should be raised and that the additional income should be used for a fund to aid needy students from overseas. In that way, both arguments can be applied, and they cease to be contradictory in the way suggested by the right hon. Gentleman. Moreover, there is a difference in kind, not simply of degree, between raising fees by 25 per cent. and raising them by 300 per cent., as the Government have done without notice.
Now, a word about students already in this country, the ones who would pay the £50. We are to have a fund to reimburse those who come from developing countries. We are to have a fund to help students who are in actual hardship. I gather that the total amount we hope to get out of the £50 is, at the most, likely to be £1 million, and, with the two funds taken together, it will be very much less than that.
As these students have come to this country on the basis of the old fees, is there not a breach of faith here? Would it not be best to abandon the idea of the £50 impost at least on students already involved in courses in this country? For the pittance it would bring in, this is something which the Secretary of State could quite easily abandon.
Now, what about the charities, trusts and foundations which support students in this country? The Government's action will hit particularly hard one category not mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Tonbridge, those whom I call the dissenting students, the refugee student, the student at odds with the Government of his own country, the student who is supported here by charitable organisations, trusts and funds. If those charities have to find treble the amount for the fees they will be able to support only one-third the number of 2011 students they previously supported, unless they can increase their fund-raising. The Government have already hit charities, first by the tax loan—the Selective Employment Tax—and secondly by action over Christmas cards Purchase Tax.
We shall get a smaller number of dissenting students, whether refugee students or those who are here when there is perhaps a coup in their own country and their grant is cut off in the middle of their course. Those are the students who are aided by charities, and the charities will be very hard hit by the Government's action. I hope that the Government will examine the matter and see whether anything can be done to help the dissenting students.
The Government's action hits at the whole concept of the international character of education. The noble Lord who summed up for the Government in another place said that charity begins at home. It was a pagan who first said that charity begins at home, and I should have thought that we might have moved on a little from that concept today.
The Government's action has aroused universal condemnation in the academic world and among people who are interested in aid to developing countries. When he started on this move, the Secretary of State called in aid the Robbins Report, although I think that he has now retracted. I want to call in aid of my argument a passage from the Report which says:The presence here in institutions of higher education of students from abroad is widely regarded as valuable, and rightly so. In our judgment it fosters a sense of international community on both sides which encourages a valuable give and take. The communications to which it gives rise are not without their diplomatic and economic advantages, and where students from developing countries are concerned it provides a helpful contribution to their countries' advances. We should greatly regret a dwindling in the number of overseas students.I believe that the Government's action will lead to a dwindling of that number. I regret it, and for that reason I shall vote for the Motion.
§ 5.32 p.m.
§ Dr. M. S. Miller (Glasgow, Kelvingrove)
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science 2012 made a very persuasive and effective speech. I do not consider that the level of overseas students' fees is sacrosanct, but when many of the developing countries need more help from us than ever before it is perhaps, to say the least, unfortunate that this step should have been taken now. The sum of £50 a year has been mentioned as the total increase some students will pay. My right hon. Friend will be aware that in some parts of the Commonwealth, such as India and Pakistan, £1 per week is not an uncommon wage for a working man.
I am not a party to wild accusations of vice-chancellors, and I am not against increases as such. I do not think that all higher education should necessarily be subsidised to a higher degree. What I am concerned about is that subtleties of policy develop from little things, and this is a very little thing. Not much money is being saved by it, but it means a lot to some of the people affected.
I very much appreciate the Government's point of view on the matter. It may be fair enough for the advanced countries but I am concerned about the under-developed countries and underprivileged sections in advanced countries. I am concerned about South Africa. I have received a letter, from which I should like to quote briefly:I am a student from South Africa. I receive no grant. I am solely dependent upon my parents, who are financing my education at very great sacrifice and are barely able to support me.I should also like to quote a letter from another South African student:I can go to a tribal college for Indians. They are merely glorified high schools allowing no academic or intellectual freedom, and if you are aware of the facts of life in South Africa you are able to judge that this is no exaggeration.I believe that I am aware of the facts of life in South Africa. The letter goes on:Students from Commonwealth countries can expect some help, but South Africa left the Commonwealth several years ago, a matter in which non-whites had no say.That gives me great concern.
Countries like Australia and New Zealand from which we have students are rich, and I have no objection to an increase in the fees paid by students from those countries or from the United States. I am concerned about victims of 2013 cruel, oppressive policy in their own countries, who look upon this country as a bastion of freedom and a place of great intellectual choice. We should not disappoint and disillusion them completely.
It might be apposite to mention my own experience as a student. Before the war I went on a tour of Europe, which my parents considered an essential part of my education. Among other places, I spent some time in Vienna and Budapest. With 250,000 Jewish inhabitants, almost 25 per cent. of the population, Budapest imposed a 5 per cent. limit on Jewish entrants to her university. Many applied for places elsewhere and were accepted. They went to the United Kingdom and United States, and some went to Vienna. Less than one year later Vienna fell.
That was a piece of discrimination, and we are now discriminating. If the policy of discrimination had been universal, the world might have lost as Nobel prize-winners, in medicine and physiology alone, Koch, in 1905, Ehrlich, in 1908, Lippman, in 1953, and Bloch, in 1964; in physics, Einstein, in 1921, and Stern, in 1943; in literature, Thomas Mann, in 1929, and Pasternak, in 1958; not to mention prize-winners in chemistry and peace.
Why must we, for very small sums of money, appear to succumb so readily to the blandishments of the forces of darkness? When my right hon. Friend said that millions of words of controversy have poured over his head we plead that some of them get into his ears and that he listens to the arguments put forward to safeguard those for whom I speak.
The Government must not appear to discriminate. It is not enough to say that it is not discrimination; I quite accept that. I do not call my right hon. Friend a Fascist, nor do I call him an individual who would in any way discriminate. But it is not enough for me to know that. Everybody in the outside world must know it too. I am asking my right hon. Friend to give me assurances that students from underdeveloped countries whose parents cannot afford even the small amounts of money by which the fees are to be increased and students from the underprivileged sections of even developed countries, will not suffer. I want him if 2014 it is possible to spell out in much more detail the specifications of the transitional fund to be set up. I want to know much more about how it is to be administered and about phrases used—for example,…in cases where hardship can reasonably be claimed."—[OFFICIAL REPORT. 21st February, 1967; Vol. 741, c. 248.]We want to be more specific and if he can give these assurances he will be assuring everyone that discrimination on grounds of colour and race is indeed not taking place.
§ 5.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Henry Clark (Antrim, North)
The Secretary of State presented a clear and logical argument. He is well known for rhetoric on paper and he gave a piece of it in his speech. I shall not disagree with him. Indeed, I agree with a great deal of what he said. I have always believed that one should know what things cost and that, particularly when one is giving things free, one should know what they cost. Otherwise, one is led into a large number of stupid and uneconomic political decisions.
When I was a servant of a local authority in a developing country, there was an anomaly in that we were paying a student's fee of £600 at Oxford but £900 at Makerere College in Uganda. There was something rather stupid in that. One should have some idea of what education at Oxbridge or Redbrick costs in this country. We are, after all, giving something that is not only of inestimable value academically but very costly as well.
But, because the right hon. Gentleman's arguments are reasonable, the way in which he made his announcement becomes all the more unreasonable. If his argument had been put forward properly and clearly at the right time there would have been none of the outcry there is today. He said that some of the argument had not been heard before. But he made his announcement two months ago. Why did he not make a clear statement at the time? We all know that, if a Minister wants to hide something, he can give a Written Reply a few days before Christmas. This announcement was made, too, at the beginning of the university vacation.
The sum of £50 may not seem much to hon. Members, particularly since we 2015 so often talk in terms of millions, but it is a great deal of money to an undergraduate who is not used to using large sums of money. This particularly applies to students who are thousands of miles from home and who are not altogether certain where next year's fees will come from. The money may come from village communities, from their parents, perhaps from collections among their relations who have to be chivvied for each year's fees.
Has the right hon. Gentleman considered the amount of anxiety he caused by his half-baked announcement among overseas visitors who are also students in our universities? Vice-chancellors are neither stupid nor hysterical men. The right hon. Gentleman quoted the statements of vice-chancellors. The students in this country are not known for political instability but we have had a very considerable outcry from them over this affair. The vice-chancellors and the fellow students of those from developing countries have seen the anxieties which the right hon. Gentleman's ill-judged and hasty announcement caused. It is because of the way he has done this wretched action, thus causing so much anxiety to students, that I shall vote against the Government tonight.
The right hon. Gentleman has been well known as one of the high priests of Socialism, a man who believed in planning. In the action which he suddenly took, clearly at the behest of the Treasury, he was guilty of a hasty, ad hoc and unplanned decision which has caused a great deal of anxiety and hardship and has done the good name of this country in international education untold damage—not because of what he has done but because of the way in which he did it.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ Mr. Ednyfed Hudson Davies (Conway)
This issue has given rise to widespread demonstrations of criticism, most of which has been highly emotional and some of which has been quite without substance. It is, of course, desirable that we should have large numbers of overseas students studying here. That is clearly to the benefit of the overseas students themselves and also to the benefit of our own students through the association 2016 they have with them. Such association can serve as a very useful basis for understanding, co-operation and trade links in future.
Before I turn to some of the more serious problems connected with the proposals to increase the level of fees, I remind the House that, even at the increased rate of £250 in university and £150 in technical college, the fees are still considerably subsidised and that the overseas student will be getting a very good return for money at that price.
The cost of maintaining a student—not taking account of capital expenditure but merely of annual recurrent expenditure, as it is called by the University Grants Committee—at a university here is in excess of £800 a year. Last year. at the University College in my constituency, the cost was £870 per student, which is a very considerable sum. To get that in return for £250 is not too bad. If the capital expenditure were taken into account, the figure would probably be about £1,400 per student.
Let us, however, settle for a figure of between £870 and £900. If it is argued that our own students will pay only ィ70 while overseas students will have to pay £250, we must remember that we are paying for the whole cost, or almost the whole cost, of the education of our own students while, in the case of overseas students, even if they are paying £250, we will still be contributing about £600 per annum towards the education of each overseas student.
This is a period of restriction, of financial difficulty. It is not an outrage that the Government should be thinking in terms of economies but we may properly raise the question of whether this is the right kind of economy. There have been several references to the image of this country abroad and one difficulty is that, in this context, we have not emphasised enough the fact that, even at £250, overseas students will be getting a very good return for their money. That aspect could do with a great deal more publicity.
Much more important, however, is the question of what effect this decision will have on the intake of overseas students. I, too, want to emphasise that I do not think that there is anything sacrosanct about the level of these fees. There 2017 is nothing outrageous about the Government expecting an overseas student to pay these fees if he and his family can afford to do so or expecting his Government to do so if his family cannot. But what about those cases where the fees cannot be afforded at all?
I am now fairly happy, having listened to my right hon. Friend, about the steps that will be taken for the transitional period. It is much to be hoped that the Ministry of Overseas Development will be very liberal in the long run in its attitude to the sponsoring of students from the poorer countries. In our provincial universities—this may be less true of Oxford, Cambridge and some London colleges—the proportion of overseas students from Asia and Africa in relation to the whole of overseas students is very high indeed.
At the University of Wales there were 663 full-time students last year in the four constituent Welsh colleges, and the Welsh School of Medicine. Of these only 112 came from Europe, North America and Australasia, while 551 came from Asia and Africa. Some overseas students from Asia and Africa are very wealthy and spend enormously here; their families visit them often and they probably more than offset any subsidy. However, many others may not be able to afford these fees.
Will the Minister give an assurance that, through his own Ministry, or through the Ministry of Overseas Development, we will not prevent students from developing countries, who would otherwise have been admitted, from entering the country as a result of these increased fees? If this were to happen, if the increase were to operate not merely as an economic measure but as a selection procedure, it would be a selection procedure of the most sinister kind. There may be a good case for limiting the number of overseas students. Our educational system is under very considerable pressure and one might argue the need to devise a fair and equitable method of limiting the number of overseas students. I would be very disturbed if this was done under the guise of financial restriction and economy. It would be deplorable if ability to pay was made, even unintentionally, the criterion of eligibility.
2018 It might be proper for us to adopt a different attitude to students from overseas countries who are coming here to do graduate work and degree-equivalent studies at technical colleges, and those who are coming here to do work of a lower level, to pursue studies for A levels, and so on. When I first took up a post, several years ago, at the Welsh College of Advanced Technology in Cardiff, the college then still catered for A-level students, and in some of the classes about two-thirds of the students were from overseas. Their attitude was a good deal more casual and less academically dedicated than those overseas students working on graduate courses.
I am very concerned that our educational system should be cluttered up by people from overseas studying A-levels here. I know that some countries have limited facilities for this type of teaching, but we would do better to subsidise education in these countries at source rather than to use our domestic resources in this way. My right hon. Friend made the point that we should concentrate on post-graduate work, but I do not feel entirely happy about this. It is important that we should also think of the ordinary graduate student, otherwise we shall have a very specialist selection of students from overseas.
There are, then, two things which concern me. The first is that if we are to restrict overseas students this should be viewed as a separate issue and dealt with openly as such, in the right way, and not in the guise of an economic measure. I hope that we will be given an assurance about this. Secondly, and here the appeal is perhaps more to the Ministry of Overseas Development, it is important to see that subsidy through education is not severely curtailed. With direct aid, the great danger is that it does not go to the people for whom it is intended. By supplying aid in the form of education, one can see where it is going, it cannot be squandered and one is giving something very valuable to other countries.
§ 5.56 p.m.
§ Mr. Patrick Wolrige-Gordon (Aberdeenshire, East)
We have heard a great deal this afternoon about Socialism being the language of priorities. We heard that phrase from the Minister. I also thought that Socialism was meant to be about the 2019 brotherhood of man, but there does not seem to be much of that principle left in the administration of this particular policy. I want to begin by quoting from a gentleman who receives a lot of attention in this country. He said:It is in this way that I believe we are making one of the most important contributions to the growth of literacy and to the spread of scientific and technological information.That was the Prime Minister speaking last October, and not merely describing assistance given by our schools and universities to overseas students, but praising his Government's efforts to expand that assistance. Was he right then and wrong now, or right now and wrong then? The Prime Minister likes one to believe that he is right all the time. He seems to have passed that on to members of his Cabinet, because what disturbed me most about the Minister's speech was the impression that he gave of wondering what all of the fuss was about.
It is the Government's total inability to comprehend how ordinary people think and feel about what they do which disturbs me most of all. They are now talking anxiously about hardship. The Minister was at pains to point out all the students involved who will not suffer. There is talk of some complicated fund. How absolutely stupid not to investigate, to consult and to agree on a measure like this before one hoists one's flag to the masthead—and then begins to pull it down again.
In view of all the controversy and dismay that the Government's action has aroused it is reasonable to ask for a postponement of at least a year for students who are in the country, in order to allow them, and the Government, and all concerned, to work out the practical details of this policy, which are very serious for the students. Not least is the fact that if they are not able to find and pay this extra money it will be too late for them to go elsewhere to continue their courses. The Government's handling of this issue has been awful, and they would do much better to admit it.
More serious than the Government's handling of the issue, however, is the issue itself. A serious part of the Minister's speech was his condemnation of the argument that one ought to let in students 2020 as a matter of self-interest—that one might acquire a Rutherford or something of that sort. I felt that this was misguided, because if the Government's action in this matter is not wholly and completely self-interested, what is it? Ours is a country, by comparison with many others from which students come, which is rich, prosperous and comfortable. Moreover, it is a country which, almost more than any other, has natural links and ancient ties with many of those less fortunate countries.
Everyone agrees that education is one way in which we can help these countries. Why have the Government performed this mean act? Listening to the Minister the answer came, it is money. We are blessed with a Government who have spent so much and encouraged others to produce so little that they are reduced to attacking the pocketbook of those who can afford it least. They know not the damage that they do, because their vision is so limited and their aim is so small. It concerns me to think that the Minister simply does not take in the results of his action.
The Government do not see because they think only of themselves. Our country will suffer for it. The thousands of students who are here, and the thousands who would have come but who will now be forced to seek more hospitable shores, from now on will think of our country as mean, niggardly, and niggling and they will be right.
I end with a word of thanks to our own students for taking the stand which they have taken. It will be remembered in other countries as well as this country. This Government will not last for ever. I hope that the time will come when Britain will once more open its official eye and heart to the needs of those less fortunate in the way that so many thousands of our own people and students naturally want to do.
§ 6.0 p.m.
§ Mr. James Johnson (Kingston upon Hull, West)
After listening to such turgid verbiage, it seems to me that it is a good job that the Minister is not in his place. Had he been in his place, he might have been called a Fascist. After such drivel, may I speak as one who spent some years as student adviser to an African Government and who has met 2021 many students and conversed with many colleagues on the Continent and in the United Kingdom.
There has been criticism and vituperation of the Minister which he does not deserve. He made an efficient and fair speech. I have talked to many people in universities overseas, and I know that this country, under this Government, is doing, and will continue to do, more for overseas students of all colours than any other nation. This is a fact, whether we talk about 71,000 students or the sum total of money spent. We have nothing to be ashamed about.
In my opinion, we need a large number of overseas students. This is enlightened self-interest. Many of them go back as ambassadors, but perhaps some of them do not go back in an enlightened ambassadorial spirit. We hear about landladies who do not take coloured students and they go back not as ambassadors but very bitter. However, by far the majority come here, mix with us, and then go back, on the whole, as our friends. If we talk to past leaders in the T.U.C. we realise that we have to be careful about how we handle our overseas guests. I think that the Minister has been a wee bit clumsy in handling them. I do not think that he contemplated getting such a hornet's nest about his ears.
Like many other Members, I have had cables from our friends and students overseas. I have one here from Mauritius—and may I remind my right hon. Friend that Mauritius does not lack a university.
It reads:Increased university fees shocked Mauritian parents; deprive poor students higher studies; Britain sacrificing longterm interests; immediate needs; pray intervene; convey solidarity NUS. Ramallah Young Socialists".Like my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Dr. Miller), many of us must have received similar letters and cables.
The Secretary of State has taken shock measures. He has increased overseas students' fees, but has not increased our own domestic students' fees, as the Robbins Committee recommended. But he will never please students for the only way to do that is not to increase the fees at all. Therefore, let us look at the matter in perspective. I believe, like the Minister, that increasing numbers of students will come here, whatever the 2022 Opposition may say about my right hon. Friend's behaviour in this matter. I would ask some of my colleagues to look at a book by Guy Hunter entitled "New Commonwealth Students in Britain" in which there are more facts and figures than any of us could easily digest. He puts the case fairly, objectively and factually.
However, I believe that too many students are coming from overseas for non-advanced courses. I do not want to see students, whether rich or poor, subsidised or not, coming here in such numbers taking their O-levels. They should be taking these at home—and their A-levels, if possible. I do not believe that coloured students or any other kind of students should be plucked from their own environment and left too long in the United Kingdom. When they return to their own countries, they are often not fitted to play their part in their economy, which is dynamic and tough, and needs dedicated young men. I fear some students stay in this country too long.
I should like to see more places found for students to take advanced courses and particularly post-graduate courses. I would subsidise to the 'nth degree work done at colleges like the South-East London Technical College for Accountancy and other commercial courses, so that these students could go back in their hundreds and fit into the evolving and developing economies of their own countries where they do a first-class job. There have been too many white collars floating about. I hate to mention lawyers in this assembly, but I would like to see a few more engineers, technicians and mechanics going back to Malawi and similar states and working among their own people. I do not want to see students coming here who, with inadequate means, are near the edge of subsistence, and who spend their time in lodgings in Paddington and Notting Hill Gate eking out their time, often having to find jobs to pay their fees.
The Minister has proposed the setting up of a large sinking fund to help students who will benefit by the increase in fees. We all know of communities overseas where people pass the hat round in order to send the best boy in the village—for example, a boy in the Ibo community in Nigeria—to England to study. He returns as a hero if he has done a good job. Such a student would 2023 be badly hit by the increase in fees. I hope that such boys and girls will not be penalised by the increase. The Minister said earlier that he has this matter in mind. He gave some kind of pledge, if I could believe my ears, that he would look after poor students who would be handicapped in this way.
Why do students come here, and how many of them should come here? As the Minister said, there are many universities and colleges opening in Africa and elsewhere. They are getting back gifted graduates and post-graduates who have been here. They are going back home and teaching in their universities. We should be helping those universities and institutions to get on their feet and to have more first-class staff. It is the policy of national Governments overseas to keep their best boys and girls for their own universities. It is perhaps not the best people who come here and face the tough competition to get into our universities. I do not want to see them coining here too early and spending years in getting their O-and A-levels. They should be doing their earlier work in Africa. Our job is to get more post-graduates and we should be helping to find places overseas for students at the lower levels.
May I say a word or two about non-Government students. There has been no limit in the past to the exodus of private students to the United Kingdom. Much more care should be exercised in admitting students of this kind to our institutions. It often leads to misery and unhappiness and they go back home with bad impressions whereas we hope that at the end of their courses they would return as excellent ambassadors for our way of life. I have myself had to help overseas students to return home because they were having an unhappy time, would never pass their examinations and were often wasting their time here. This is not just a simple question of saying that all those who come here should be welcomed and subsidised to the 'nth degree.
However, we cannot have a quota. 1 believe that we should put up fees as has been proposed, always bearing in mind that for those who need help, there should be some kind of a needs test with a view to helping them stay here, particularly for those in the middle of courses who other- 2024 wise would not be able to obtain their diplomas or degrees.
Obviously standards overseas are getting better, and part of our task should be to help such countries to keep their students in their own communities, and to build up the best facilities which they can offer.
If the Minister can only moderate the harsh impact of his financial cuts upon the needy and deserving students, he will be taking a step in the right direction for the long term benefit of the emergent overseas territories.
§ 6.10 p.m.
§ Sir George Sinclair (Dorking)
I listened with some surprise to the arrogant diatribe of the Minister against the vice-chancellors and his former academic colleagues. Unlike him, I did not find their protests against this Government Measure so unrealistic. What I found among those at the universities with whom I have spoken was a far closer common humanity and appreciation of the needs of overseas students and the positive contributions which they were making to the quality and variety of life in our universities. The Minister seems not to understand why the Government have earned the angry and bitter criticism of all our universities and the criticisms within every university. I wonder whether they are all wrong.
What is it which has made the universities so angry about the raising of fees for overseas students? If I may, I shall make some suggestions. It was only a few years ago that all the vice-chancellors recommended the raising of all tuition fees as the Minister has suggested. It was only a few years ago, too, that Robbins recommended that these fees should cover 20 per cent. of the recurrent cost of tuition. They are not against the raising of fees. Why, then, have they been sent into high strikes by the action of the Government?
I believe that it is because they regard this measure as ham-handed and inept. They think that it has been taken without any consultation and without any thinking through of the consequences on the universities' programmes and on their students. Talking to people who have to arrange courses for students coming to London University, one particular criticism which I hear is this. They have 2025 sent out prospectuses laying down certain fees, and they believe that they may now be in breach of contract, by having offered students courses at certain fees and by facing them now with the prospect of those fees going up not by 25 per cent., as in 1962, but 300 or 350 per cent., with a short cushioning period.
The sharp raising of fees, the lack of consultation and the lack of consideration of how it will affect not only those students who are here, but students who are planning to come here and the overseas Governments who are working out their scholarship programmes, have given rise to the protests. I have been involved in working out such programmes, and sometimes they are done on a tight budget. If it is found that the whole basis has to be changed overnight, it sets plans awry and, naturally, there will be a reaction against it.
It has also had an effect, not in one of the developing countries, but on the Fulbright Scholarships. I believe that they are already cutting down the grants for which students of this country would be eligible to take them to America because of the increased fees which American Fulbright scholars may have to pay in this country. That is just one side effect.
People working on charitable trusts and private funds work on budgets. Families have to try to create budgets if they are sending students here. I know that the Minister has said that British Government and British Council scholars will be covered. However, I note that the funds available to the British Council have been cut recently. I note, too, that £20 million has been cut from the funds available to the Ministry of Overseas Development, according to a written Answer yesterday.
If more funds are to be found for this purpose—and I agree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) who suggested that this should be one of the main parts of overseas aid—where else can the extra money be found when the Ministry has a £20 million cut in what it expected to get for next year?
Turning to the subject of private students, I accept a number of the remarks which have been made about students who come here full of hope, 2026 carrying their families' backing, but not really able to make the best use of the opportunities available here. There are a number of them, and I had a great deal to do with them in a previous occupation. However, as my hon. Friend the Member for Paddington, South (Mr. Scott) pointed out, there are a great number of students who cannot find in the developing universities of their own countries the exact courses which they seek, and they have to come here to pursue the careers of their choice. In addition, there are many who need to pursue postgraduate studies. Not all of them will get Government scholarships.
There are other factors intervening. It is often the case that the State will not put the same value on a man's potential that his family is prepared to do. Many of us who remember the faith of Scottish families in their children's capacities will know how important that is. We must not jeopardise the chances of such people coming to this country.
I do not want to be accused by the Minister of being illogical, and I am not against the raising of fees. However, he should have consulted more widely with the countries concerned. He should have told them of the decision which the Government had taken. He should have added that we needed time to think the results through before putting it into effect, and that we therefore intended to spread the rise by increments over five years. In that event, Governments, universities, families and trusts could have adjusted themselves to this very heavy increase. Even over five years, an increase of 300 or 350 per cent. is, to say the least, quite substantial. If there had been more realisation of the impact of this increase, I believe that the Minister would not have been so draconian in his measure and would have spread it over a longer period. Then, he would not have had the violent protests from the universities and from overseas countries.
Do not let it be thought that it will not cut down a considerable flow of students to this country. I have talked with some of the High Commissioners and they say that, in the sector which is privately sponsored, this decision will make a big difference.
I shall vote for the Motion tonight, although I hope that the Minister will 2027 decide to spread the increase over a longer period so that the people most affected can adjust themselves to it.
§ 6.20 p.m.
§ Mr. Frank Judd (Portsmouth, West)
While recognising the sincerity of a number of hon. Gentlemen opposite, some of my hon. Friends have clear reservations about the degree of humbug in the Opposition Motion. We know full well the outlook of the majority of hon. Gentlemen opposite towards the social services and taxation and it is difficult for us to believe that much sincerity lies behind the Motion.
We have been reminded, in the furore of the debate which has been going on about this subject in recent weeks, of statement made by certain people, including remarks of my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister. It is worth noting that at an important meeting of U.N.E.S.C.O. in London on 19th October last my right hon. Friend referred toBritain's enviable record in providing places in the higher education system for overseas students.It is precisely because we share that pride that some of my hon. Friends object to the decision of the Government to increase these fees. I wish, first, to deal with inadequacy of some of the arguments that have been advanced for the decision. Reference has been made to the Estimates Committee and its suggestion that the education which we provide for overseas students is "exaggeratedly cheap". We should consider whether it can be demonstrated that education for overseas students is more expensive elsewhere and, if so, by how much. The records show that in very few countries indeed do the fees cover anything like the full cost of higher education, or a higher proportion of the cost than the fees charged in this country.
The Council for Education in the Commonwealth has done some interesting research on this subject. It has demonstrated that of the nine other countries which, with Britain, receive three-quarters of the world's overseas student population, eight charge less than Britain, while the ninth, the United States, charges higher fees in the more expensive institutions, although it provdies scholarships for 54 per cent. of all overseas 2028 students studying in that country. Together, these nine countries receive more students from Britain than they send to Britain—and most of them take active, positive measures to encourage students from the developing countries to study there.
We have been told that the total rate of increase has more than doubled in the past 10 years, but what of the increase of British students in British universities, for a comparison from this angle must obviously be made? In fact, the rate of increase in overseas students coming to British universities has been declining. In the past five years there has been a 28 per cent. increase in the number of overseas students coming here, while the increase in the numbers going to other countries has been much greater—180 per cent. in Sweden, 89 per cent. in West Germany and 64 per cent. in Italy.
We have also been told that, by having an open-ended commitment, we might be entering into something we cannot meet. In fact, there is good reason to believe that, with the expansion of higher education opportunities in the countries from which overseas students have been coming, this increase would have petered out in the next two or three years, even without this fees increase. We know, from analysis, that the saving of £5 million is open to question and that the cushioning effects announced in another place on 14th February will reduce the saving even further.
We also know—any layman can recognise this—that reducing the numbers of overseas students in a particular faculty or course does not necessarily lead to a reduction in the cost of that faculty or course. The suggestion that the saving may be less than half the amount announced is probably sound. The shaky statistical analysis which has been made gives ground for concern. There are other aspects of the decision, and explanations for it, which are equally disturbing. One is forced to ask whether the homework was really done as thoroughly as it should have been in advance of the increase.
It has been stated that it would be a good thing—some of my hon. Friends have suggested this with sincerity—if more students from overseas were to study at home instead of coming to Britain. While this is a questionable general 2029 assumption, we should recognise that for a large number of overseas students there are no opportunities for them to study in their own countries. In this connection, I quote from a letter which I have seen from the Kenya High Commission in London. It stated:We expect many of our U.C.C.A. candidates to withdraw their applications and seek admission at the University of East Africa. We do not really have sufficient places to meet an inflated demand. Secondly, we are unable at present to offer a full range of degree courses and thus many students are going to be forced to alter their career choices. In the long run this will mean that fewer specialists and technically-trained personnel will be seeking employment in the country.We have also heard the argument about Government-backed students being best. However, we know of countries where excellent students have, for political considerations, not been given official Government backing. One must ask in which way the Governments of developing countries are to be expected to provide the extra funds to meet these extra fees. The letter from which I quoted also stated:The majority of Kenya Government Bursars follow one-year Teacher Training courses. Fees are already high and we feel that in order to meet the proposed increases the number of bursaries offered is liable to he drastically cut. This will seriously affect our training programme. We foresee similar cuts in Commonwealth Bursaries, Technical Aid. etc.It has also been suggested that certain countries from which students come here have a far higher standard of living than we have. However, it is the case that a good many students from these countries do not themselves enjoy that standard and one cannot generalise with arguments of that kind.
The Secretary of State said a considerable amount about what I can only describe as questionable statistics. For example, he said that of the 1,500 students who came here last year, 500 stayed on in Britain or went on to further education elsewhere. For how long did they stay on in Britain, for what purpose did they stay on, how long did they stay here before returning home and, for those who went elsewhere, for how long were they elsewhere before going home?
The House has been told that there is a shortage of places for British students in our universities. The National Union 2030 of Students has been absolutely right to challenge the Government to demonstrate even one instance when a British student has been denied entry to university or other place of further education because of overseas students coming here.
It has been suggested that the universities are able to absorb these fees increases. We know that the Government will assume that the increased fees are being paid when the degree of financial support for the universities is being decided. I urge my right hon. Friend to remember that some universities are unable to absorb these fees; and certainly that applies to the great majority of technical colleges. We have also had some rather shocking and highly selective quotations from Robbins, although we could have expected better from a Department with such an outstanding record.
§ Mr. Crosland
My hon. Friend has made a number of charges which are totally incorrect. He referred to a number of what he described as "shocking" and "selective" quotations. Would he say when they were made?
§ Mr. Judd
In earlier discussions on this issue suggestions were made that Robbins had argued in favour of higher fees for overseas students. In fact, Robbins was in favour of higher fees all round. If we were proposing higher fees all round, that might be another matter, but as we are not, Robbins would not have favoured those increases.
One thing must be made clear about the Department of Education. It is wrong for anyone to suggest that this measure has been motivated by racialism, and I was delighted to hear my right hon. Friend refute in the strongest terms any suggestion of this kind.
However, we must look at the way in which this could be interpreted in the country. The easily identifiable overseas students are the coloured ones, and we must realise the significance of the Government's proposals to an already undermined public opinion on this issue of racialism.
We must also look at the lack of consultation to which reference has been made. I refer to a lack of consultation right across the board, particularly in 2031 respect of embassies and high commissions here. Some feeling has been expressed by the High Commissions in this country—that this has come at a time of our preoccupation with Europe—and they obviously feel that there has been a lack of consideration on our part for the older ties which we have with the Commonwealth. I trust that my right hon. Friend has taken note of what has been said on this matter. I will not go now into the way in which these increases were announced.
It has been wrong to argue this mainly in a technical way, in terms of a residual amount of hardship for overseas students, because this completely fails to recognise the significance of the situation. It must be seen against a background—I know the arguments which the Government will give for this—of reduced priorities for overseas aid and development right across the board. There has been a cut of £20 million in the overseas aid and development programme recently, which is more than twice the rate of cut in domestic and defence programmes.
If we are looking at the significance of this cut, we must recognise that we have to move away from the age in which we regarded overseas aid and development as purely charitable. We must look at it as being justified basically on two grounds.
First is the ground of strategy. If we are spending vast amounts on defence to contain conflict when it occurs, it makes nonsense not to spend increasingly highly on programmes of aid and development to remove the breeding grounds of conflict—the ignorance, disease and poverty which lead to conflict. To do this, we must provide the skilled personnel to lead the developing countries to their full economic development.
The second ground is the indivisibility of the world economic community, the fact that increased purchasing power in the world is in our own direct self-interest in the long run. For this reason again, we are sad to see any cuts, including those concerning fees.
At the eleventh hour, I appeal to the Minister and the Government, because of their outstanding record to date on domestic education policy, to think again.
2032 I appeal because the Labour Government and the Labour Party are proud of their tradition in granting independence to countries in the fight against colonialism. This fight becomes a hollow exercise if, when we have the power, we are not prepared to back up the political fight by providing the wherewithal to make a substance of the political independence which has been granted.
That demands, above all, the personnel to run the countries in their own right, and for this powerful reason I believe that the fees for overseas students are essentially an important part of the overseas aid and development programme. I hope that the Government will think again, despite the economic pressures of the moment, and insist that the cuts be made elsewhere, so that we can have an altogether more meaningful overseas programme and policy.
§ 6.33 p.m.
§ Mr. E. Rowlands (Cardiff, North)
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Would it not be possible for the Front Bench to allow us 10 more minutes for Government back benchers like myself, who do not support the Government, to say why?
§ Mr. David Steel
Further to that point of order. Are we barred by the rules of the House from going on past 7 p.m., or is it merely an agreement through the usual channels?
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. The hon. Member must not question the Chair's right to select speakers. If he feels that the Chair has been unfair, he has his remedy. I would remind him that he spoke on this topic on Monday.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I am sure that we all sympathise with the wish of all 2033 hon. Members to continue the debate, but I am not sure that it would be helpful for the Government if that happened.
I remember saying to an hon. Friend of mine that it would be impossible for the same result to happen here as happened when this matter was debated in another place and nine noble Lords spoke from the various back benches without one voicing support. Today, we have had the pleasure of listening to 10 short speeches from right hon. and hon. Gentlemen on both sides and, with the possible exception of the qualified support from the hon. Member for Conway (Mr. Ednyfed Hudson Davies), the Government have found no friend on either side of the House—
§ Mr. James Johnson
This is not so, because I gave more than qualified support for this policy, although I had my reservations.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
I took down the hon. Gentleman's words. He said that his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State had been thoroughly clumsy in his handling of this matter—
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
The reason for this is, first of all, the resentment at the form of the announcement, at a written Answer to a written Question right at the very end of the Parliamentary Session and, what has not previously been said, when corporate opinion in the colleges and universities was dispersed for Christmas. There was every sign of a rushed decision, inadequately thought out.
The second reason for strong feelings in the debate and elsewhere was the lack of consultation with the vice-chancellors and principals who have come under such scathing fire from the Secretary of State, which was far removed from those cosy little gritty dinner parties when they were told how important they were to the economy. I believe that there has been no proper consultation with the University Grants Committee, though I take it that what the Secretary of State said—I hope that his hon. Friend will confirm it—means that it substantially 2034 supported the proposals which we are now debating. Finally, when the vice-chancellors approached the Prime Minister to make their representations direct, they were brushed off and passed on to the Secretary of State.
The third reason for the strong feelings expressed today from both sides is that the exemptions have simply not been properly thought out. This emerged from speech after speech on both sides from hon. Gentlemen, many of whom, like my hon. Friend the Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair), spoke from a lifetime's experience. No thought was given to the hardship caused to those who are not cushioned by the £50 increase to those who are already here.
The Secretary of State chose to say that he had always hardship in his mind. I have to say to him: no, he had not. I have equipped myself with the original statement in his written Answer and with the Press announcement which, as is customary, went with it. There is no intention in the original Answer of 21st December or in the Press note of any explicit provision for hardship. No, Sir—the provision for hardship came later. The point which my right hon. Friend the Member for Barnet (Mr. Maudling) made so ably was that the effect of this £50 increase is even greater when measured against those universities with a four year and not a three-year course, of which Keele would be an example.
There was no mention originally of hardship. The Government moved on 14th of February, the date of the public announcement, when they said that they had been impressed by the representations made to them. The representations were made from both sides of the House and came, among others, from right hon. and hon. Friends of mine who heard themselves described earlier today as only having come into this business at the last minute. Once again, there was a movement, an inroad, into the economies, with the creation of a fund limited to those who are at present here on a course.
There were also representations from both sides referring particularly to the 4,000 students who are here studying A levels in the belief that they will have a place next September and who, as things then stood, found themselves with a swingeing increase of fees. In the early 2035 hours of Tuesday morning, as the few of us know who sat up to listen to him, the Minister of State moved again. He showed that the A-level student is to be brought within the £50 increase. As I understood it, he will be counted as if he were already on a course here. That is important. It illustrates two things—first, that the original proposals were never carefully thought through and, secondly, that further inroads have been made into the alleged economies.
Various reasons, additional to the financial one, have been put forward for this action. It has been said that it would be right to encourage students to study at their home universities. That is not the principal argument, but it is a peripheral one. The right hon. Gentleman put it forward again today. It strikes ironically at the 334 students of Mauritius who have no university. It strikes at the students from Cyprus. It strikes, ironically, at medical students who want to study medicine in Africa and have to go to Lagos, Makerere or Salisbury. It also overlooks the increasing contribution which is now made in the post-graduate field. Here the Secretary of State was exactly right; this is the way in which our contribution will in future help. Post-graduate courses often lead to the building up of centres in their home countries, and is therefore of great value. But to imply that the greater number of these postgraduate students will be Government-sponsored is not in accordance with the facts.
I must truncate my remarks, partially because I am expecting a substantial concession from the Minister of State.
I now turn to an examination of the principal concession. There is a factor about it which has not yet been brought out. The principal exemptions will be made in respect of British Government sponsored students. Notice the emphasis on "Government sponsored". One of the essences of British Council sponsored students tends to be that they are also acceptable to their home Governments. This point was very well brought out by the hon. Member for Roxburgh, Selkirk and Peebles (Mr. David Steel), who was not able to speak a second time but who, early on Tuesday morning, gave the example of five students from South Africa, sponsored by the British Council, who are 2036 approved by their Government and who will be cushioned, but whose colleagues from the United Nations Training Programme will have to pay the full increase. That is a strange order of priorities, resulting from the proposals that we are now discussing.
Lastly, this has been said but it can be repeated. Even those hon. Members—and they exist on both sides of the House—who are critical of our present level of aid, or its application, join together in agreement that this form of aid is among the finest provided by this country. I wish that the House had been more full when the right hon. Member for Derby, South (Mr. Philip Noel-Baker) gave moving testimony of this, speaking with a lifetime's experience.
Most graduates are leaders in the societies in which they live. This is well understood by other developed countries, who provide for their education. Increasingly, our exports will be of sophisticated goods and the "know-how" that goes with them, together with the training of our potential customers. That is surely of importance, and a matter of the greatest concern. If ever there were a case of "bread upon the waters", this is surely it.
In penetrating speech after penetrating speech by hon. Members on both sides of the House these measures have been demonstrated to have been hastily thought out and hastily implemented. They have been shown to be discriminatory in a way abhorrent to large sections of opinion. They give an undue emphasis to the Government-sponsored student. The economies which they allegedly produce can be shot right through, on the Government's own figures. Noticeably, the Secretary of State did not do what he undertook to do at Question Time, namely, give the actual cost of the fund. It is to be hoped that the Minister of State will put that right. Instead of being placed against the background of overseas aid as a whole this expenditure is placed against the narrow educational budget.
I noticed, as many of my hon. Friends did, a certain intellectual arrogance about the Secretary of State as he dealt with criticisms both from behind and before him. He will live to rue this day. We are expressing the overwhelming view of 2037 the academic and non-academic sections of the nation, which is why I shall vote with such a will tonight.
§ 6.45 p.m.
§ The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mr. Goronwy Roberts)
The matters that we have been debating today have understandably aroused deep emotions. I should be the last to decry such a motivation, especially when it was put forward so sincerely by many people who have dedicated themselves to the service of international aid. On these occasions, however, it is necessary to keep a sense of proportion and perspective—to avoid exaggeration and certainly misrepresentation, which can only harm the cause which we all have at heart.
There is no difference between the two sides of the House about our desire to do as much as we can, within our resources, to aid our less well-placed friends and brothers overseas. In all fairness, my right hon. Friend, speaking with the utmost sincerity—the hon. Member for Wokingham (Mr. van Straubenzee) who referred to my right hon. Friend's arrogance, cannot possibly know him one-tenth as well as I do—has assisted the House and the country to take a more deliberate view of this difficult but urgent matter.
It has been of growing urgency for some time. The Robbins Committee in 1963 and the Estimates Committee in 1965 drew attention to the need for control. This was central to the thinking of the Robbins Committee. It said that the open-door policy, subscribed to by all parties in the House was, by 1963—and certainly it has been since—taking on the character of an open-ended commitment.
The debate has been marked by extremely interesting and cogent suggestions, but I did not hear an alternative to the proposal to apply some control to this hitherto uncontrolled subsidy. Many hon. Members have made criticisms which, in turn, carried suggestions for ways in which the measures of assistance already announced by my hon. Friend could be most effectively and equitably applied. I give the assurance on behalf of my right hon. Friend and the Government that everything said by hon. Members on that score will be carefully con- 2038 sidered—because we are as anxious as anybody else in the House that the transitional fund and the methods for coming to the aid of those who are genuinely in need as a result of the increase in fees shall be as effective and as fair as possible.
As the hon. Member referred to the subject, perhaps I may indicate the Government's intentions. We have said that the total grant to universities will assume an income of £250 per annum per overseas student. This is not binding on universities; some may exercise a sense a priority in this respect—as, indeed, we must all exercise a sense of priority, and as, indeed, the Government are entitled to create their priorities.
All students on British Government or British Council grants will have the higher fees paid by the British Government out of an increase in overseas aid funds. Of the others, no student already embarked on a course will pay more than £50 extra. All students financed by Governments of developing countries will have the extra £50 paid for them by the British Government to their own Government. Finally, for those not financed by Government funds either here or in their own countries, a fund will be created to enable grants to be made towards the increase in fees where hardship can reasonably be claimed, and with special reference to developing countries. It would be discriminatory to confine this fund to developing countries or to Commonwealth countries. We shall attempt no such discrimination, but we shall seek to make this fund specially applicable to the needs of students from developing countries.
How many people are involved? There are 71,000 overseas students in the country. About 16,000 of them are students from developing countries, and are self-financed. Not all of these, of course, are of straitened means, but among them, my right hon. Friend and I agreed there are and always will be students for whom, once we had raised the general level of fees, there would have to be special alleviating provisions; students whom we have heard described by hon. Members on both sides who, in their own countries, have not as yet—although great progress has been made—university, technical college or even higher school facilities; students who are 2039 dependent upon very small allowances based on the penurious but self-sacrificing efforts of poor countries. Those are precisely the students whom we were enxious to help through this fund.
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Kelvingrove (Dr. Miller) indicated—[Interruption.]—I am extremely sorry, but we agreed on a self-denying ordinance in order to enable as many hon. Members as possible on both sides to make their contribution. I am labouring under some difficulty because I am truncating my speech as I go along, and, as a somewhat inexpert practitioner in that respect, I am almost inclined to ask for the indulgence of the House.
Then there is the special category of those who follow sequential courses, possibly starting at A-level here and perhaps going on to advanced courses on that basis. The general principle here will be to ensure that students already embarked on a course or sequence of courses should not have to curtail their studies by being faced with increased fees on moving from one course to another. Equally, the Government are determined that no present overseas student should have to give up his studies simply because he cannot find the extra £50. The fund will be framed with precisely this object in view.
The fund will be the subject of a Supplementary Estimate in due course, and it is perhaps then that its amount, conditions and administration can most effectively be debated. It may be that procedure will require that two Supplementary Estimates must be tabled, but the House will certainly have an opportunity to examine precisely what these arrangements amount to.
The question of consultation as to how best to assemble and administer this fund has been raised by a number of hon. Members, amongst them the hon. Member for Paddington, South (Mr. Scott). I can say that there will be full consultation—it is, in fact, proceeding now—with the academic and educational authorities concerned, with the student organisations and with representatives of
§ those experienced people who have been working for many years in this dedicated way among overseas students in this country.
§ We are very much aware of the problems facing charities, trusts and foundations which have been mentioned more than once today, and we would certainly consult representatives of that sector of assistance.
§ The aim will be in the next few weeks to table with the authorities concerned a draft memorandum of guidance about the precise categories affected, with a note on the way the easement might work for students who cross from one academic course to another or who, during their course, face a difficulty about completing that course. The memorandum will be made public, and it will he made available to hon. Members.
§ Some hon. Members have talked as though these measures will suddenly shut off all forms of aid for overseas students; as though, because there is this raising of the basis of fees—although coupled with a fund to alleviate hard cases—we will somehow wipe out the whole of the Government's programme in regard to overseas students. This is completely at variance with the facts. In fact, Mr. Speaker, I am tempted before I sit down to ask both sides of the House once more to read the last few Reports of the Ministry of Overseas Development, and to take pride in how much this country has been doing, and is doing, for overseas countries that are in need. One of the most inspiring chapters in the latest Report of that Ministry—I make no party point about it at all, because it is agreed policy—is that on education.
§ I am sure that, having looked at this in perspective and having brought—
§ Mr. William Whitelaw (Penrith and The Border)rose in his place and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.
§ Question put accordingly—
§ The House divided: Ayes, 222, Noes 276.2043
|Division No. 278.]||AYES||[7.0 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Awdry, Daniel||Bell, Ronald|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Balniel, Lord||Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)|
|Astor, John||Batsford, Brian||Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos. & Fhm)|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Berry, Hn. Anthony|
|Bessell, Peter||Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.W.)||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Biffen, John||Harris, Reader (Heaton)||Noble, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Nott, John|
|Birch, Rt. Hn. Nigel||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Onslow, Cranley|
|Black, Sir Cyril||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Orr, Capt. L. P. S.|
|Blaker, Peter||Hastings, Stephen||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Body, Richard||Hawkins, Paul||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Hay, John||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Llonel||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Braine, Bernard||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Pardoe, John|
|Brewis, John||Heseltine, Michael||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Higgins, Terence L.||Peel, John|
|Bromley-Davenport,Lt.-Col.SirWalter||Hiley, Joseph||Percival, Ian|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Hill, J. E. B.||Peyton, John|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hobson, Rt. Hn. Sir John||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Buck, Antony (Colchester)||Hogg, Rt. Hn. Quintin||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Holland, Philip||Pounder, Rafton|
|Burden, F. A.||Hooson, Emlyn||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Campbell, Gordon||Hordern, Peter||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Carlisle, Mark||Hornby, Richard||Prior, J. M. L.|
|Carr, Rt. Hn. Robert||Howell, David (Guildford)||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Cary, Sir Robert||Hunt, John||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Chanson, H. P. G.||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Iremonger, T. L.||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Clark, Henry||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Clegg, Walter||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Rippon, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey|
|Cooper-Key, Sir Neill||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Rodgers, Sir John (Sevenoaks)|
|Corfield F. V.||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Roots, William|
|Costain, A. P.||Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Craddock, Sir Beresford (Spelthorne)||Jopling, Michael||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Crawley, Aidan||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Sir Oliver||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Crouch, David||Kershaw, Anthony||Scott, Nicholas|
|Cunningham, Sir Knox||Kimball, Marcus||Sharples, Richard|
|Currie, G. B. H.||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Dalkeith, Earl of||Kitson, Timothy||Sinclair, Sir George|
|Dance, James||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Smith, John|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Lancaster, Col. C. G.||Stainton, Keith|
|Dean, Paul (Somerset, N.)||Langford-Holt, Sir John||Steel, David (Roxburgh)|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F. (Ashford)||Legge-Bourke, Sir Harry||Stodart, Anthony|
|Dlgby, Simon Wingfield||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M. (Rippon)|
|Dodds-Parker, Douglas||Lloyd,Rt.Hn.Geoffrey(Sut'nC'dfield)||Summers, Sir Spencer|
|Doughty, Charles||Lloyd, Ian (P'tam'th, Langstone)||Tapsell, Peter|
|Drayson, G. B.||Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Selwyn (Wirral)||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Eden, Sir John||Longden, Gilbert||Taylor,Edward M.(G'gow,Cathcart)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Loveys, W. H.||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Errington, Sir Eric||Lubbock, Eric||Teeling, Sir William|
|Eyre, Reginald||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Temple, John M.|
|Farr, John||MacArthur, Ian||Thorpe, Jeremy|
|Fisher, Nigel||Mackenzie,Alasdalr(Ross&Crom'ty)||Tilney, John|
|Fortescue, Tim||Macleod, Rt. Hn. Iain||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Foster, Sir John||McMaster, Stanley||Van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Fraser,Rt.Hn.Hugh(St'fford & Stone)||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)||Vaughan-Morgan, Rt. Hn. Sir John|
|Galbraith, Hn. T. C.||Maginnis, John E.||Vickers, Dame Joan|
|Giles, Rear-Adm. Morgan||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest||Walker, Peter (Worcester)|
|Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Marten, Neil||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Maude, Angus||Wall, Patrick|
|Glover, Sir Douglas||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald||Walters, Dennis|
|Glyn, Sir Richard||Mawby, Ray||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Godber, Rt. Hn. J. B.||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Goodhew, Victor||Maydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.||Webster, David|
|Gower, Raymond||Mills, Peter (Torrington)||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Grant, Anthony||Miscampbell, Norman||Whitelaw, William|
|Grant-Ferris, R.||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)||Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)|
|Gresham Cooke, R.||Monro, Hector||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Grieve, Percy||More, Jasper||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Hall, John (Wycombe)||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles||Younger, Hn. George|
|Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Hamilton, Marquess of (Fermanagh)||Murton, Oscar||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Neave, Airey||Mr. Francis Pym and|
|Mr. R. W. Elliott|
|Abse, Leo||Barnes, Michael||Blenkinsop, Arthur|
|Albu, Austen||Barnett, Joel||Boardman, H.|
|Alldritt, Walter||Baxter, William||Boston, Terence|
|Allen, Scholefield||Bellenger, Rt. Hn. F. J.||Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur|
|Archer, Peter||Bence, Cyrll||Boyden, James|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Braddock, Mrs. E. M.|
|Ashley, Jack||Bennett, James (G'gow, Bridgeton)||Bradley, Tom|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Binns, John||Bray, Dr. Jeremy|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Bishop, E. S.||Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Blackburn, F.||Brown,Bob(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne,W.)|
|Brown, Rt. Hn. George (Belper)||Howie, W.||Pentland, Norman|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Perry, Ernest G. (Battersea, S.)|
|Buchan, Norman||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Hunter, Adam||Price, Christopher (Perry Barr)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hynd, John||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Cant, R. B.||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Probert, Arthur|
|Carmichael, Neil||Janner, Sir Barnett||Pursey, Cmdr. Harry|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Randall, Harry|
|Chapman, Donald||Jeger, George (Goole)||Rankin, John|
|Coleman, Donald||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Redhead, Edward|
|Concannon, J. D.||Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)||Reynolds, G. W.|
|Conlan, Bernard||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Richard, Ivor|
|Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)||Jones,Rt.Hn.Sir Elwyn(W.Ham,S.)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)|
|Crawshaw, Richard||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)|
|Cronin, John||Kelley, Richard||Roberts, Gwllym (Bedfordshire, S.)|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Kerr, Dr. David (W'worth, Central)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Crossman, Rt. Hn. Richard||Leadbitter, Ted||Robinson,Rt.Hn.Kenneth(St.P'c'as)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Ledger, Ron||Robinson, W. O. J. (Walth'stow,E.)|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick (Newton)||Rodgers, William (Stockton)|
|Davidson,Arthur (Accrington)||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Roebuck, Roy|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)||Rose, Paul|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||Lipton, Marcus||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Lomas, Kenneth||Rowland, Christopher (Meriden)|
|Delargy, Hugh||Loughlin, Charles||Shaw, Arnold (Ilford, S.)|
|Dell, Edmund||Mahon, Dr. J. Dickson||Sheldon, Robert|
|Dempsey, James||McBride, Neil||Shinwell, Rt. Hn. E.|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||McCann, John||Shore, Peter (Stepney)|
|Dickens, James||MacColl, James||Short,Rt.Hn.Edward(N'c'tle-u-Tyne)|
|Doig, Peter||MacDermot, Niall||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)|
|Donnelly, Desmond||McGuire, Michael||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)|
|Dunn, James A.||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Silverman, Julius (Aston)|
|Dunnett, Jack||Mackie, John||Skeffington, Arthur|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Maclennan, Robert||Slater, Joseph|
|Eadle, Alex||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)||Small, William|
|Edelman, Maurice||McNamara, J. Kevin||Snow, Julian|
|Edwards, Rt. Hn. Ness (Caerphilly)||MacPherson, Malcolm||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Mahon, Peter (Preston, S.)||Steele,Thomas(Dunbartonshire,W.)|
|Ellis, John||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael|
|English, Michael||Mallalieu,J.P.W.(Huddersfield,E.)||Stonehouse, John|
|Ennals, David||Manuel, Archie||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Ensor, David||Mapp, Charles||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)||Marquand, David||Swain, Thomas|
|Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Swingler, Stephen|
|Faulds, Andrew||Mason, Roy||Taverne, Dick|
|Fernyhough, E.||Maxwell, Robert||Thomas, George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Finch, Harold||Mayhew, Christopher||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George|
|Fitch, Alan (Wigan)||Mellish, Robert||Thornton, Ernest|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Millan, Bruce||Tinn, James|
|Floud, Bernard||Miller, Dr. M. S.||Tomney, Frank|
|Foley, Maurice||Milne, Edward (Blyth)||Tuck, Raphael|
|Foot, Sir Dingle (Ipswich)||Mitchell, R. C. (S'th'pton, Test)||Urwin, T. W.|
|Forrester, John||Molloy, William||Varley, Eric G.|
|Fraser, Rt. Hn. Tom (Hamilton)||Moonman, Eric||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Freeson, Reginald||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Walden, Brian (All Saints)|
|Garrett, W. E.||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Ginsburg, David||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Wallace, George|
|Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Morris, John (Aberavon)||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|Gourley, Harry||Moyle, Roland||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Weitzman, David|
|Gregory, Arnold||Murray, Albert||Wellbeloved, James|
|Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Neal, Harold||Wells, William (Walsall, N.)|
|Griffiths, Rt. Hn. James (Llanelly)||Noel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)||White, Mrs. Eirene|
|Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Norwood, Christopher||Whitlock, William|
|Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)||Oakes, Gordon||Wigg, Rt. Hn. George|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Ogden, Eric||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Hamling, William||O'Malley, Brian||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Hannan, William||Oram, Albert E.||Williams, Alan Lee (Hornchurch)|
|Harper, Joseph||Orbach, Maurice||Williams, Clifford (Abertillery)|
|Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, S'tn)||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hutchin)|
|Hart, Mrs. Judith||Owen, Will (Morpeth)||Willis, Goerge (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Hattersley, Roy||Padley, Walter||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Hazell, Bert||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Healey, Rt. Hn. Denis||Paget, R. T.||Winterbottom, R. E.|
|Henig, Stanley||Palmer, Arthur||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Woof, Robert|
|Horner, John||Park, Trevor||Wyatt, Woodrow|
|Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)||Yates, Victor|
|Howarth, Harry (Wellingborough)||Pavitt, Laurence||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)||Mr. Charles Grey and|
|Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Peart, Rt. Hn. Fred||Mr. William Lawson.|