HC Deb 09 April 1970 vol 799 cc723-4
4. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will make a further statement on the progress of his consultations with the University Grants Committee about university development in the 1970s.

7. Mr. Christopher Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science to what extent it is his policy to provide in 1975 and 1980 university places for all students who want to attend university and who have two A-level passes in the appropriate grade.

The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Mr. Gerry Fowler)

I cannot yet add to the answer which I gave the hon. Members on 5th February.—[Vol. 795, cols. 595–7.]

Mr. Lane

As these consultations proceed, could the hon. Gentleman impress on the University Grants Committee and the Association of Vice-Chancellors and Principals that it will help public discussion if there is the fullest possible publication of the universities' replies to the 13-point questionnaire?

Mr. Fowler

I am sure that the Committee of Vice-Chancellors will take note of what the hon. Gentleman has said, but it is a matter for it and not for me.

Mr. Ward

Is it Government policy to provide places at university for 60 per cent. of those qualified in the late 'seventies? Does the right hon. Gentleman the Secretary of State remember saying that on B.B.C. television on 4th January?

Mr. Fowler

I think that what the hon. Gentleman is referring to is our desire to see that places in higher education as a whole are available for the same proportion of those who are qualified as is the case today and as Robbins recommended. I would rather that we did not talk at this stage of proportions of places in any particular sector, because that is one of the matters which will have to be decided in the course of this year.

6. Mr. Christopher Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the present marginal cost of providing a place at a university; and whether he has estimated the cost of providing the number of university places required by 1980.

Mr. Fowler

The long-run marginal cost falling on the universities and colleges Vote of an extra undergraduate place in a university at 1969 survey prices is estimated at about £1,050; this figure excludes the student's maintenance grant. Future requirements for places in higher education, including universities, are still being studied within the Department.

Mr. Ward

Does the hon. Gentleman believe that the small projected increase in education expenditure up to 1973–74 will be adequate to finance the colossal expenditure that there will have to be in further education to accommodate the extra students, however they are distributed between the different sectors of further education?

Mr. Fowler

I think that the hon. Gentleman is falling victim to a common misconception, the answer to which has often been explained in the House. The figures to which he refers for the last two years of the five-year period covered by the White Paper are not to be taken as firm figures already negotiated between Departments and the Treasury.