HC Deb 27 July 1967 vol 751 cc951-2
13. Mr. Dewar

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will hold an inquiry into the criteria on which Social Science Research Council awards for post-graduate study are made, in view of the small number available last year to students at Scottish universities as compared to the high proportion of the total of students in the United Kingdom in faculties eligible for such awards at Scottish universities.

Mr. Goronwy Roberts

No, Sir.

Mr. Dewar

Would my hon. Friend not agree that there is at least a prima facie case for further consultation, bearing in mind that, for 1966–67, Scottish universities, with almost 25 per cent. of the British total of eligible students got under 5 per cent. of the awards—a grand total of 19, as compared, for example, with 133 for the University of London alone?

Mr. Roberts

I am satisfied that the distribution of these awards is not affected by the location of universities, in England, Scotland or Wales, and I am not prepared to suggest the introduction into the system of discrimination on these grounds. The allocation of awards for post-graduate studies is one of the principle functions entrusted to the Council and I do not propose to intervene as my hon. Friend suggests.

Mr. MacArthur

Why is the number of awards in Scotland so low?

Mr. Roberts

It may improve, go up for instance, by the end of September, when a certain number of awards are made available under the Council's arrangements. It may go up next year, or the following year, but the disposition of these awards relates to individual quality and has no geographical basis.