HC Deb 20 November 1979 vol 974 cc187-9
3. Mr. Frank Allaun

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations he has received over the future funding of universities.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Mark Carlisle)

I have received representations from the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, the Trades Union Congress, the National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education and from some 100 other organisations. In addition, I have received about 150 letters from individuals.

Mr. Allaun

Will universities be permitted to offer home students places left vacant by overseas students? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman estimate approximately the shortfall of overseas students in 1980 compared with this year and the resulting loss of funding to universities?

Mr. Carlisle

Admissions are for universities. Funding will be determined on the basis of the assumed number of home students. The answer to the hon. Gentleman's question must be "No". The universities will not receive additional funding for additional home students on top of that which is the basis of the calculation. I am not in a position to give any answer to the hon. Gentleman's question about the likely number of foreign students coming to this country next year. Over the past 10 years the number of overseas students coming to Britain has almost trebled.

Dr. Hampson

Does my right hon. and learned Friend recall the damage that was done to universities by Labour Ministers' procrastinations in handling the university teachers' pay award in 1974? Why is there such a delay in dealing with the proposals of the Association of University Teachers at present?

Mr. Carlisle

With great respect, there is not all that much delay. The university teachers' pay award should have been payable from 1 October 1979. It is true that discussions are still taking place between the parties. It is hoped to call a meeting of the relevant committee in the near future. The university teachers' pay award last year was not settled until some time in the spring of this year.

Mr. Ashley

Does the Secretary of State know that one of the most remarkable side effects of reduced funding of universities because of the method of charging overseas students is to damage some medical research institutes and to destroy some others? If that was not intended, and I assume that it was not, will the right hon. and learned Gentleman consult his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services and inquire into the implications for medical research?

Mr. Carlisle

I do not accept the right hon. Gentleman's argument. However, if there is any issue that he wishes me to consider in the area to which he refers, I shall do so. As the House will know, I have made it clear that we intend to make available certain bursaries for post-graduate research students.