HC Deb 11 December 1973 vol 866 cc179-80
8. Mr. Dalyell

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will consider the introduction of an annual review of student grants, similar to the annual pension review.

Mrs. Thatcher

Yes, Sir. This is being considered as part of the current review of student grants.

Mr. Dalyell

Does the Secretary of State disagree with the view of the vice-chancellors that there is real need among the students?

Mrs. Thatcher

I assume that there will be an increase in student grants. That is why we now have a triennial review and why a number of working parties, with the students, have been investigating the facts for some time.

Mr. Redmond

While she is examining this problem will my right hon. Friend also consider the whole question of parental contribution? Does she agree that the middle income groups now find it most difficult to send sons and daughters to universities, whereas the very poor and the very rich manage it quite easily?

Mrs. Thatcher

That matter also is being considered. The last time we had an interim increase, which was in October, we made substantial improvements in the amount of parental income which was free from assessment for contribution, and that will be very much in our minds in making the new review.

Mr. Moyle

Will the right hon. Lady solve the student grants problem on the basis of the principle that no student should be denied the opportunity of continuing his or her education because of financial need?

Mrs. Thatcher

We shall continue the student grants negotiations on the basis on which they have been conducted since the Anderson Report. I do not think it is possible suddenly to change to another basis.