HC Deb 09 May 1968 vol 764 cc609-10
28. Mr. Marks

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will circularise local education authorities advising them not to make student grants conditional on promises of the students' future behaviour.

Mr. Edward Short

I see no reason to do so. The conditions governing the payment of duty awards—as opposed to discretionary awards—are set out in statutory regulations.

Mr. Marks

Is the Secretary of State aware that the Minister of State yesterday deplored action by local authorities which assumed behaviour on the part of students? Does he accept that if students break the law they should be dealt with like other people, and that if they offend against their universities or student bodies, those bodies should deal with them and not local authorities?

Mr. Short

I remind my hon. Friend that Statutory Regulation No. 22(3) states: If, after consultation with the academic authorities, an authority is satisfied that the holder of an award has shown himself by his conduct to be unfitted to hold it, it may terminate the award or suspend it.

Sir G. Nabarro

Would the Minister agree that the taxpayer and ratepayer should not be expected to give a subvention to disorderly behaviour and student hooliganism where it exists in a minority of cases?

Mr. Short

Yes, Sir, but there is a good deal more to it than that. I was asked a specific Question and I have answered it. If, now, the hon. Gentleman raises a much wider question, then he must accept that there is a lot more to it than he may think. Excess in student protests is one thing. To try to stop every type of student protest is a very different matter. There are two factors involved here. The first is the terrible conflicts in society itself. Students would be abnormal if they were not acutely sensitive to these. The second is the fact that many of our universities still do not give students a part in running their own affairs. The concept of a university is that it should be a self-governing body of students, but a great body of the students are not at present able to take part in the governing of their universities.

Mr. Shinwell

Why all this fuss about these young people kicking up a row now and again? Are they making any more of a nuisance of themselves than the hon. Member for Kidderminster (Sir T. Brinton)?

Sir G. Nabarro


Mr. Shinwell

I should have said the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro).

Sir E. Boyle

Ignoring the momentary lapse of memory on the part of the right hon. Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell), may I ask the right hon. Gentleman if he is aware that his Answer about refusing to circularise will meet with wide approval in House and that, for the rest, many hon. Members would probably prefer this matter to be left where the Minister and I left it after Question Time yesterday?