HC Deb 05 August 1971 vol 822 cc1819-20
6. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will now make a statement on her consideration of the misuse of funds and other irregularities by members of student unions; and of the future thereof.

Mrs. Thatcher

I now have a great deal of information about the provision and use of student union funds but I am not yet ready to make a further statement.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is my right hon. Friend aware that we much appreciate her interest in this matter but that if it is left too long people will begin to take it for granted that union funds can be misdirected to finance subversive demonstrations and that political favouritism will begin to be recognised as normal? Will she not leave it too long but press on with her good work?

Mrs. Thatcher

I think that the misuse is comparatively small but quite large matters of principle are nevertheless involved. I would like any changes we propose if possible to be done by agreement with all the parties concerned.

16. Mr. Wall

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she has received the report of the Vice-Chancellor's Committee on student union finance; what action is to be taken; and whether the report will be published.

Mrs. Thatcher

The Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals has given me access to information supplied to them by universities on the financing of student unions, but has made no report. I am still studying this information.

Mr. Wall

Can my right hon. Friend say why no report has been made? In view of the public anxiety on this matter, surely, there should be a report and it should be published.

Mrs. Thatcher

It is not a question of a report. We asked for certain information, which we now have. It reveals very different conditions prevailing in very different institutions, and it is this factor which is making a simple solution difficult—if that is not too Irish.