HC Deb 09 November 1982 vol 31 c418
9. Mr. John Fraser

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will revise the regulations about mandatory student grants in the light of recent decisions of the courts about what constitutes ordinary residence in the United Kingdom.

13. Mr. R. C. Mitchell

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will amend the three-year normal residence rule in relation to statutory educational grants.

Mr. Waldegrave

A number of cases concerning the ordinary residence requirement of the mandatory awards regulations were recently considered by an Appeal Committee of the House of Lords. My right hon. Friend will consider whether any amendment to the regulations is necessary in the light of the forthcoming judgment.

Mr. Fraser

What possible justification is there for a person who spends four years in the United Kingdom on a work permit, pays British taxes, and then spends another two years in the United Kingdom without any conditions being imposed on his stay here, being treated as a foreign student? Does the Minister agree that that smacks of a vendetta against foreign students? If the House of Lords judgment goes in what I believe to be the wrong way, will the Minister change the regulations?

Mr. Waldegrave

I am aware of the hon. Gentleman's interesting constituency case. In so far as the matter relates to the House of Lords decision, I cannot talk about it now. Nevertheless, the issue will be reviewed in the light of that judgment.

Mr. Mitchell

Is the definition of what constitutes ordinary residence a matter for the DES and therefore a uniform standard that is applied throughout the country, or is it a matter for each education authority to interpret in whichever way it wishes? Is the Minister aware that a harsh interpretation of what constitutes normal residence may be discriminatory, especially against the immigrant community?

Mr. Waldegrave

Although the DES gives guidelines, it is for the institutions and local authorities to make judgments. We are aware of variations. The matter will be subject to review.