HC Deb 23 November 1972 vol 846 cc1509-10
20. Mr. Judd

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will make a statement on the Government's policy towards residential and working accommodation for students at polytechnics.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Resources are allocated for polytechnic buildings on the basis of the expected increase in student numbers and the proposals submitted by individual local education authorities. The further education major building programme which is due to start in 1974–75 includes some £32 million for polytechnics, of which about £5 million is intended for residential accommodation.

Mr. Judd

I welcome the news of this increase in public expenditure, but does not the hon. Gentleman agree that polytechnics have a long way to go before they overcome the acute inadequacies in their working and residential accommodation compared with most other universities? Will he note that when, in places like Portsmouth, dramatic plans are announced about increasing the number of students at polytechnics, it can have grave consequences not only for students who are working in overcrowded conditions, but for the local community in terms of driving up land prices and aggravating an already bad housing shortage? Will he instruct those responsible to watch this aspect of the problem.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I assure the hon. Gentleman that I, personally, am very concerned about the position of polytechnics and agree that a great deal needs to be done. Next week I shall be attending the designation of the North London Polytechnic. With regard to the college in Portsmouth, in which I know the hon. Gentleman takes a great interest, we have allocated £2,400,000 for building in the two years 1973–75; and, in addition, the building programme provides accommodation for 500 residential places. These figures reflect my Department's awareness of Portsmouth's particular needs. As for the last point made by the hon. Gentleman, I shall bring it to the notice of the appropriate people.

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