HC Deb 24 April 1969 vol 782 cc644-5
27. Mr. Barnett

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what guidance he has given to local education authorities about grants for post-graduate students in management and business studies; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

The main responsibility in this field from 1969–70 will lie with the Social Science Research Council, and local authorities are aware of this.

Mr. Barnett

But did my hon. Friend see the report in The Times on 8th April which referred to a cut of 60 per cent. on the 1967–68 figure in the total grant in this field? Is that not deplorable? Should we not be moving to expand our educational facilities in this direction, if only for our long-term economic needs? Rather than leave it to that Council, will my hon. Friend look into this and see that we do not have that sort of cut?

Mrs. Williams

May I make the position absolutely clear, since there has been a good deal of misunderstanding reflected in the Press about this figure? The Department of Education and Science asked the local authorities to give returns of the number of bursaries for management courses. We received a return which showed, for 1967–68, that the number of L.E.A. bursaries in this field was 149. We then made arrangements that the S.S.R.C., when it took these bursaries over, would be able to bring about a minor expansion of the total number of bursaries.

Subsequent to that, the Social Science Research Council made its own survey, inquiring not of the local authorities but of the universities. The figure which it received for the same year was not 149, which we had received from the local authorities, but 266. We are trying—

Mr. Arthur Lewis

On a point of order. Could not this answer be circulated in the OFFICIAL REPORT to save time?

Mrs. Williams

We are trying to find the reasons for this discrepancy and we shall be making a statement to the House shortly, but we are still studying the matter.

Mr. Speaker

Order. In answer to the point of order, long answers mean fewer Questions.

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