§ Mr. Brooke
The number of full-time academic and research staff at the North East London polytechnic in 1982–83, the latest figures available in the Department, was 648. I understand that the polytechnic's estimate of 801 the comparable number in 1984–85 is 527. The full-time equivalent number of students on advanced courses, excluding overseas and other full-time students, in 1982–83 was 4,850. The national advisory body's plan for 1984–85, as endorsed by my right hon. Friend, provides for a full-time equivalent of 5,274.
§ Mr. Gould
Is the Minister aware that the only reason why substantial compulsory redundancies have been avoided is that the staff have co-operated on voluntary early retirement and that the three local authorities involved, including my own, have dug deep into their own resources, despite being victims of Government cuts, to make good the shortfall in Government financing? Does the Minister understand that the North-East London polytechnic, and other polytechnics, cannot continue to maintain high standards under the constant threat of redundancies and financial deprivation?
§ Mr. Brooke
The expenditure out turn at NELP for 1982–83 suggests that its unit cost was about 24 per cent. higher than the average for polytechnics. It was 29 per cent. above the average in 1981–82. Although there has been some improvement, there must be scope for substantially greater economy and efficiency.