HC Deb 08 July 1971 vol 820 cc1492-3
1. Mr. Lane

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when she will make a further announcement of Government policy towards university development in the 1970s.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

I hope to announce the provisional recurrent grant for the academic year 1972–73 by the end of this year, and the recurrent grants for the whole of the 1972–77 quinquennium during the autumn of next year.

Mr. Lane

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for making that clear, but could she bear in mind, too, that it will be of great help to the universities, particularly over their capital development plans, if they can be given the earliest possible long-term indication not only of the pattern of expansion during the rest of the decade but of the Government's probable time scale as to decision-making and implementation over the next few years?

Mrs. Thatcher

I will certainly bear that in mind. My room for manoeuvre is limited because I cannot take decisions before I receive the advice of the U.G.C., and the U.G.C. is still collecting information on which to tender its advice.

Mr. Mark Hughes

Would the right hon. Lady inform us whether in these calculations medical education at university level in general and at all such schools as the medical school in Durham University will be included?

Mrs. Thatcher

Medical schools at universities come within the U.G.C. grants.

Mr. Alan Williams

Could the right hon. Lady take this opportunity to make it clear that the present alarming reports of graduate unemployment are not, as some of the educational flat-earthers would have us believe, evidence that too many graduates are being produced, because we produce fewer than our competitors, but that it is just one more cruel symptom of the Chancellor's economic ineptitude? Secondly, will she take this chance, in view of the insidious article in May's "Economic Trends", to make it clear whether that article, written by two of her officials, is the start of a great Conservative retreat from the Robbins criteria?

Mrs. Thatcher

The decisions will be taken in accordance with my original reply.

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