HC Deb 16 November 1972 vol 846 cc596-7
20. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what latest figures she has for the number of qualified applicants who have been refused university places.

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

The best and latest information available is contained in the Statistical Supplement to the Ninth Report of the Universities Central Council for Admissions, 1970–71. I am sending the hon. Member a copy.

Mr. Dalyell

Having seen that, do the Government share the publicly-stated anxieties of the vice-chancellors about the future intakes of students, given the very real uncertainties that surround the quinquennium?

Mrs. Thatcher

The vice-chancellors probably have differing views about the intakes. I hope before long to make an announcement about the quinquennium.

Mr. Jessel

Is not it a myth that all qualified applicants can derive some benefit from attending university? Is not there quite a strong case for arguing that at least a modest minority of qualified applicants can obtain more satisfaction from going straight from school into some other occupation?

Mrs. Thatcher

An increasing number of qualified applicants have been going to polytechnics and further education colleges. Some of them prefer to go out into the world first and then, perhaps, to go into the higher education system later.

Mr. Moyle

Does the right hon. Lady agree that whatever figures she has for graduate unemployment they are no argument for reducing the Government's proposals for a higher education programme, because not enough is known about the circumstances of graduate unemployment?

Mrs. Thatcher

I think that the hon. Gentleman will find when the quinquennium is announced that it provides for an increase in the number of university places.