HC Deb 19 January 1982 vol 16 c149
17. Sir William van Straubenzee

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science on how many occasions in 1981 he has met the chairman of the University Grants Committee.

Sir Keith Joseph

After assuming office in September, I had four meetings with Dr. Parkes in 1981.

Sir William van Straubenzee

At those meetings does the constitutional position remain that neither my right hon. Friend nor his Ministers intervene in detailed decisions by the University Grants Committee? If that is right, does it not show that those voices in the university sector that are baying for the abolition of the UGC are speaking against the very interests of the universities?

Sir Keith Joseph

What my hon. Friend said in the first part of his question is true. In no way have I or my hon. Friends sought to intervene in the decisions of the UGC.

Mr. Sheerman

When the Secretary of State next meets the chairman of the UGC will he take up with him the results of the UGC decisions in respect of the technological universities, including Bradford university, on which the future wealth of the country depends? Is he aware that in the case of Bradford a cut of one-third in the budget means the closure of nine to 14 technical departments and the decimation of the infrastructure of higher education in West Yorkshire? Will he give that matter serious priority?

Sir Keith Joseph

I shall still not intervene with the chairman of the UGC. It is a fact that the technical universities have fared differently. Some have come off with light cuts, and others with more. The university of which the chairman of the UGC was vice-chancellor before he became chairman of the UGC has fared badly.