HC Deb 13 November 1973 vol 864 cc221-2
1. Mr. Hamling

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will make a statement on her intentions with regard to the implementation of the Russell Report.

15. Sir Gilbert Longden

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals she has for implementing the Russell Report; and if she will make a statement.

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

My Department's preparatory work is nearing completion and I hope to arrange discussions with the major adult education interests in the next few weeks.

Mr. Hamling

Is the right hon. Lady aware that the House has been waiting a very long time for the Government to make up their mind on this important report? Is she aware that we believe the real reason for the delay in publishing the Government's policy on this report is the meanness of the Treasury?

Mrs. Thatcher

I am happy that the hon. Gentleman has a reply which indicates that a document will be out in a few weeks' time as a basis for discussion.

Mr. Moyle

Does the Secretary of State agree that the adult education world has been waiting for four years for the report to appear and has been waiting six months for her to decide to do something about it, while in the meantime everybody has been subject to inflationary pressures? Will she, therefore, in addition to any grant she may be considering, also give an interim amount to the Workers' Educational Association to enable it to carry on its work, especially its experimental work, in addition to any grant for industrial relations work?

Mrs. Thatcher

No, Sir. Over the period to which the hon. Gentleman refers the number of people in adult education has already grown by 750,000, so that expenditure on this aspect of education has not been at a standstill.

Mr. Wilkinson

Does my right hon. Friend agree that one of the best forms of adult education is through the Open University and that she would be wise to give that progressive institution her full support?

Mrs. Thatcher

The Open University is given comparatively generous support by the Treasury direct from my Department. It is a specialised form of adult education and one which not everybody would wish to follow. I am more concerned at the moment with the other matters to which the Question refers.