HC Deb 30 October 1984 vol 65 cc1251-73 10.12 pm
Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)

I beg to move the motion which stands in the name of my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Liberal party: That an humble Address be presented to Her Majesty, praying that the Education (Mandatory Awards) Regulations 1984 (S.I., 1984, No. 1116), dated 27th July 1984, a copy of which was laid before this House on 1st August, be annulled. I declare an interest as a member of and adviser to the Association of University Teachers.

I am glad that at long last the House of Commons has an opportunity to debate the 1984–85 student grant settlement. We should have had the opportunity long ago, before the new regulations were put into effect. I am glad to have the support of the Labour party for this motion and the knowledge that in recent debates and at Question Time recently there has been considerable support from the Conservative Back Benches for some of the criticisms that I wish to make tonight, particularly those relating to the travel grant proposals. I hope that all that support will be assembled in the Lobbies at 11.30.

Before coming to the main part of the debate, I must record with satisfaction the fact that the Government have at last implemented the undertaking that they gave to me before the 1983 general election to give home student status to refugee students who do not come under the United Nations convention but who have been granted exceptional leave to remain in Great Britain. Ministers have been trying to evade that commitment for over a year. I am pleased that they have now recognised their responsibility, and the new regulations on this point are in precisely the form that we asked for in 1983. We are grateful for the fact that that has been done.

The most controversial aspect of the new regulations for most people has been the Government's extraordinary change in the system of travel grants. Until these regulations were introduced, students could claim reimbursement of the cost of travel to their colleges and universities in excess of £50 a year. Now it is to be assumed that all students have the same travel costs. All students who live at home will receive £160 a year and those who live away from home will receive £100 a year. Although there are some transitional provisions to help students already on courses, they will not even help students who started their courses this September, having already decided where to study when the regulations were brought in.

The main two categories of students who face high travel costs are those who live in the remoter parts of the country and have to travel long distances to reach their university or college, and those who, because of student housing problems, have a long and expensive daily journey into their college. Some students fall into both categories. A student from a distant part of the country might be studying in London, and travelling a long way daily to his college.

In reply to a previous debate on travel grants, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary said in defence of the scheme that students who do not normally face high day-to-day travel costs will gain at least £50 from his proposals. What is the justification for giving public money to help with travel costs to the very students who do not suffer those costs rather than to the students who do? Ministers call it rough justice, a concept that I have never found attractive. It makes me think of the Minister at the head of a short-sighted lynch mob, dispensing rough justice to whoever happens to come in sight.

The Minister has talked as if there were scope for choice and change in what students do to meet this difficulty. He is overlooking what I am convinced is now the situation. There is no flexibility in the budget of many students and no opportunity to make changes in their housing or other arrangements that would remove high travel costs.

The National Union of Students estimates that 39 per cent. of mandatory award holders will be out of pocket, 35,000 by at least £150 a year and 7,000 by more than £350 a year. Particularly badly hit will be students in several places such as London, where travel costs average £200 a year. That is twice what will be afforded to students in the grant for travel purposes.

Students in several new universities that were built on sites out of towns will suffer. Many students at Lancaster travel daily from Morecambe. At Warwick, students travel from Leamington; at Kent, students travel from Herne Bay and Whitstable. There are also problems in the older universities, for example, in Newcastle where students travel from Whitley Bay. Several universities have long-established arrangements with other places in which students stay. The local economies in places such as Morecambe, Leamington and Whitley Bay will be drastically affected by the departure of students who will not be able to afford to stay there.

The other side of the coin is that the pressure on housing in the centre of cities such as Newcastle and London will be even greater. My hon. Friend the Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) has drawn attention more than once in the House to the mounting student housing crisis. At the beginning of the university term in Newcastle, 200 students were sleeping on mattresses in common rooms. There were also problems in the polytechnic. The Minister must be aware of how serious the crisis is, particularly in inner city areas, and of how much worse it will be when students cannot afford to stay at the traditional out-of-town centres of accommodation that they used in the past.

It cannot be reasonably argued that the proposed arrangements will help or encourage students who choose to live at home. At times the Government have implied that they would like more students to live at home and go to the local university. I have some sympathy with that view, although I would not wish students to be put under financial pressure to do so. The Government are suggesting that students could choose the local university more readily, but in fact the amount of travel grant that they are allowing does not make that option feasible. In what area of the country will commuting costs of £1 a day make it possible for students to travel long distances to their local university? Nowadays one has to live very close to the city centre to be able to commute in and out for £1 a day. That will not help the Government's apparent objective of getting more students to go to local universities.

In some city areas travel costs are relatively lower than in other parts of the country, but that is because of policies pursued by local transport authorities to which the Government are overtly opposed and which they are trying to get rid of. If students can travel more cheaply to colleges in south Yorkshire or Merseyside, that is due to policies which are in direct contravention of the Government's wishes and which the Government are taking steps to change by central decision.

The Government have admitted that they did no research on the consequences of the change in the travel grant system. The Scottish Office, in contrast, carried out research and quickly established that the new scheme would cause serious problems and would be virtually unworkable. Scotland therefore stuck to the earlier system. But where does that leave students in the area that I represent? Two students, one whose home is in Scotland and the other whose home is in England, may take the same train from Berwick station to Kent or East Anglia university. When they arrive, they face the same high costs of getting to college each day. The Scottish student can put in an application for the additional travel costs incurred, but the English student will have no such right. That anomaly shows clearly that the Scotttish decision is right and the English decision is wrong.

The change is utterly contrary to reason. It is not a sensible or justifiable way of disbursing public money. The Treasury ought properly to question why the Government seem to have a policy objective of giving public money to the very students who have not made out a case for specific travel assistance and denying it to those who have. The scheme should be withdrawn and the Government should go back to the previous basis.

There are other ways of reducing the administrative problems that the Ministers says resulted from the previous system. The universities and colleges could play a greater part in validating claims, as some already do, and thus make it easier for local authorities to know that they are paying out on proper and justified claims.

Quite apart from the cuts in travel grant, the main rate of grant has fallen to 90 per cent. of its real value in 1979–80 compared with the retail price index. There are many resons to suppose, however, that students' costs are rising even more quickly than the retail price index. Student housing costs are notoriously high, not just in the private sector but also in the halls of residence. Books have increased dramatically in price and if the Government put VAT on the cost of books the problem will be exacerbated. There are thus compelling reasons to reconsider the main rate of grant and the policy underlying it.

How do the Government regard student grants? Do they regard them—I certainly do not—as a student wage? If so, the Government might in some way be justified in regarding student grants as covered by pay policy and considering them in relation to public sector pay settlements. The grant, however, is not and has never been regarded as a student wage. It was conceived from the beginning as a maintenance award taking fully into account the costs of undertaking higher education. On those grounds, the Government stand convicted because they have not undertaken the kind of survey necessary to underpin a maintenance award. If they contend, as I believe that they must, that the grant continues to represent a maintenance award, they must carry out a proper cost survey and a review of the way in which the grant is calculated. The NUS has made a very detailed submission on this to which I hope that there will be a very full Government response. We have muddled on from year to year applying external reductions to the real value of the student grant without regard to the true cost to students of remaining in higher education.

We cannot omit from this debate a discussion of the minimum grant and the parental contribution. When the Prime Minister was in opposition she said that when she formed a Government a full review of student grants would be undertaken and she would give "the highest priority to a reduction in the parental contribution." That was a very surprising commitment to make. I certainly could not give an undertaking that an Alliance Government would give the highest priority to a reduction in the parental contribution, because that cannot be the first claim in an attempt to put student grants on a better footing. However, she made that commitment clearly and explicitly. Yet during her term of office the share which parents take of the costs of students in higher education has increased and that of the Government has decreased. She has neither undertaken the thorough review not done anything to reduce the parental contribution.

The regulations halve the minimum grant and change the tapering system for the parental contribution. Under the previous regulations the taper was £1 in £7 for each pound of parental income above £7,200. The threshold has been updated for inflation but the regulations introduce a higher rate of £1 in £6 for income above £9,700. Those changes increase the relative burden placed on parents. The parental share of higher education maintenance has increased from 22 per cent. to 39 per cent. of student financial support, while the Government's share has decreased.

At the same time the cut in the minimum grant, which may not seem of great consequence, has a severe effect on many students whose parents do not cough up their share. The number of students who receive less than the whole parental contribution is large. There is a particularly unfortunate group of students whose parents refuse to fill in the assessment form in the first place. Some of those parents are deeply opposed to their children taking part in higher education and other are estranged from their children. Those students might be eligible for a grant, but they do not get it. They can get only the minimum grant, which has now been halved. More should be done to provide a better system of hardship payments for students in that category.

There are other undesirable features. The treatment of mature students and those who marry is very odd. Under the regulations it will continue to be assumed that one is dependent on one's parents until one is 25 unless one has been employed or has received unemployment benefit for three years. In almost all other ways one is regarded as an adult at the age of 18, and in some respects at an even younger age than that. If a mature student marries while on a course, he will be treated as a dependant of his parents. How can that be an acceptable or reasonable way to proceed? Where does it put the Government's supposed assumption if, when such a student marries, he puts himself at a disadvantage? The Minister should reconsider that feature of the regulations.

We cannot consider these regulations without considering their failure to do anything about the problem of funding 16 to 19-year-olds. Many Government Departments are involved with that problem, and these regulations form only one part of it. There is extremely widespread support for the concept of an educational maintenance allowance for students between the ages of 16 and 19. The House of Lords report on unemployment supported the proposal. When the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Communities looked at education and training, it pointed out that decisions at 16 may be distorted by financial circumstances and the varying levels of funding available. There are pleas from all directions for a change in the system which a previous Minister described as a tangle.

The logic of the case is overwhelming, but once again the Government have failed to respond to it, and to initiate the necessary inter-departmental discussions which would be the prelude to organising a proper 16-to-19 system. That is part of the background against which we must view the regulations.

To return to the main issue of the support of students in higher education, those of us who went to university in the earlier days of student grants should reflect for a moment on how much better off we were then than students are now. Those of us who, like me and I suspect the Leader of the Opposition, went into higher education with the benefit of the full grant, because we came from homes with low incomes, lived in relative comfort and security compared with the lot of students today. We underestimate the extent to which we are allowing market forces, so beloved of the Government, to keep people out of higher education.

By the regulations, the Government have turned the system of travel grants into not only a mess but a source of real hardship and discouragement to many students. The grant system itself has lost any rationality and is not properly related to student costs. The Government have made the student more than ever dependent on his parents, and they distort the choices which people should be making about what sort of education is good for them by the application of such financial pressures. We shall pay a high price for that in years to come.

10.30 pm
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Peter Brooke)

Debating the awards regulations is a regular pastime of the Opposition. That is not surprising. Mulling over ways to spend other people's money is a pleasure for some. As the signatories to the prayer show, this was a major preoccupation of the Labour party when it was in power; as for its temporary allies of tonight, they have never been in power during the life of student grants, and are not in a position to profit from the exposure to the real world that Governments must face. But I am glad to say that we have a realistic Government who are determined to restrain public expenditure in order to sustain their success in reducing inflation. That is an essential condition for regenerating the economy on which the future prosperity of the country depends. At the same time, the Government are concerned to give students a fair deal, which they have done.

The hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith) spoke about the NUS demands for 1985. Our prime concern in this debate is the 1984–85 grant settlement, and I shall restrict myself to that, except to repeat the statement made in another place that no decisions have been taken yet on next year's award settlement.

I shall begin by saying a little about each of the changes introduced by the regulations, and I shall show that this year's settlement is fair. Grant rates have been increased by 4 per cent. That increase represents, as it has always done, a compromise between students' aspirations and needs and the total sum that it is reasonable to expect taxpayers and ratepayers to provide. We are talking about the maintenance support of a privileged group of young people, many of whom will go on to earn enhanced salaries after graduation as a result of their publicly funded studies.

I appreciate that the increase was not as generous as some students and their representatives would have wished; nevertheless, I was heartened to learn from the NUS survey that the majority of students were generally satisfied with their grants. It is a simple fact, and one that many students seem to appreciate more clearly than do their representatives or Opposition Members, that the taxpayer—including many parents of students—does not have a bottomless pocket. I am sure, too, that most of them understand that they cannot be expected to be insulated from the economic facts of life. Given our success in reducing the rate of inflation, I believe this year's settlement to be a fair one for students, whose needs should continue to be met for the period which the grant covers, and for parents, taxpayers and ratepayers, who foot most of the bill.

The Government have also sought to provide a fair settlement in relation to parental contributions. The parental contribution scale has been indexed so that about the same number of parents will be assessed for contribution this year as last. We have also sought to protect families earning less than the average income from the real increases resulting from the new parental contributions scale by retaining the lower part of the scale at its previous rate. However, we have chosen to steepen the slope of the scale for families earning more than average incomes. The result is a progressive scale.

We have also decided to halve the minimum award from £410 to £205. We knew that that decision would not prove universally popular, but unlike Opposition Members we do not shy away from decisions when they confront us. It was difficult decision, but we concluded that it would be inequitable to insulate higher income families from increased contributions when larger contributions would be assessed from parents whose incomes are lower.

None of these decisions was taken lightly. The savings resulting from them form part of a package necessary to keep public spending below the limits that we had set. Faced with the need to make savings in higher education, hard decisions had to be taken. We judged it preferable to make savings on student awards rather than, for example, in the provision for universities or for science.

We were also faced with the equally difficult problems of how to achieve savings in the student awards. One possibility was to keep down the main rate of grant. We rejected that because it would have been regressive and would have hit hardest students from least well of background. It would also have run counter to our general policy of encouraging wider access to higher education from all social groups.

Mr. David Steel (Tweeddale, Ettrick and Lauderdale)

How does the Minister square that with the statement by his leader on 16 August 1978 in a letter to the chairman of the Confederation of Conservative Students, in which she said that the Government would review student grants and that the highest priority would be given to reducing the parental contribution? How does an increase in the parental contribution square with that pre-election promise?

Mr. Brooke

I remind the right hon. Gentleman that the correspondance relates to a previous election period. A review has been carried out during the life of this Government and their immediate predecessors. Given that the student loans issue is one of the causes put forward by bodies outside the House and others, I am surprised that there is such enthusiasm on the Opposition benches about our resistance to the suggetions.

Mr. Michael Meadowcroft (Leeds, West)

What advice would the Minister give to students whose parents refuse to pay the parental contribution and who therefore find it difficult to maintain themselves?

Mr. Brooke

I shall deal with that later. Faced with the real world, I am sure that any responsible Minister would reach the same conclusion that we reached.

It is said that the change will result in more students suffering hardship because their parents fail to make up their assessed parental contribution in full. It is too early to say whether that will be true, or whether Opposition Members are simply crying wolf. I have urged all parents, as have Ministers of successive Governments, to act responsibly in the interests of their children and to make up their assessed contributions in full. I do so again now, and I shall continue to do so.

I was pleased to learn from the National Union of Students' survey of undergraduate income and spending that non-payment of assessed parental contribution is now a less widespread problem than it was a decade ago and that 71 per cent. of students receive their grant in full or are short by less than £1 a week. I am sure that most parents appreciate the need to make up their contribution in full and will continue to do so. I am sure that they will not overlook the help which deeds of covenant can offer.

Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)

At the age of 18, a person becomes adult with the right to vote. How on earth can the Government sustain the argument that any parent anywhere should make a contribution in this sense? The European convention on human rights states that there shall be no fear or favour about education and that everybody should be entitled to it. It also states that there shall be no discrimination and no advantage to anyone because of birth. How does the Government proposal stand up before the European convention on human rights?

Mr. Brooke

My hon. Friend's enthusiasm tonight for matters on the continent is somewhat different from that which I normally hear from him. The principle relating to grants, individuals and their parents has existed under Governments of all colours.

The hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed referred to the arrangements to deal with student travel.

Mr. Christopher Hawkins (High Peak)

Does my hon. Friend accept that students who do not get a parental contribution because the parents refuse to give one will not turn up in the figures because they will simply not be able to afford to go on in higher education? Even if the figure in the official statistics for students being paid less than the full amount is zero, it still does not answer the question of what advice we should give to constituents who say that their parents will give them nothing towards the cost of going to university. It is interesting that the policy on student loans, which many regarded as vicious and extreme right wing, is kinder to the students who have this particular problem because they can go to university even if their parents will not pay. What shall we say to constituents who say that their parents simply will not pay?

Mr. Brooke

I take my hon. Friend's point. The participation rate within the age group is continuing to rise and the NUS survey demonstrated that parents are paying a larger proportion of the contribution than they were 10 years ago.

We have dealt with a number of the criticisms of the new arrangements for student travel made by hon. Members earlier in the year. An Adjournment debate on the subject was initiated by my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Powley) before the recess, although such was the depth of concern on the Opposition Benches that not one hon. Member turned up. None of the points made today have altered my conviction that the changes that we have made are right. The old arrangements, under which students can claim reimbursement of expenditure which they have incurred in travelling to and from their place of study, were administratively cumbersome and inefficient and therefore inherently expensive. They gave no incentive to students to seek the most economical way to travel, as they knew that the taxpayer would ultimately foot the bill.

Furthermore, the old arrangements implied an open-ended commitment to public expenditure and to a significant amount of public spending. It is worth stating that this year the Government will be spending some £39 million on student travel, not an inconsiderable sum. I am sure that even the Opposition hold no brief for an inefficient and expensive system and that the money should be disbursed wisely and with adequate control.

Mr. Max Madden (Bradford, West)


Mr. Brooke

I have given way about five times.

The changes seek to do just that. Under the new arrangements all students studying from the parental home will receive an additional £110 in grant, while those living away will receive an extra £50. Those sums are additional to the 4 per cent. increase that I have already referred to, and will significantly benefit the majority of students.

In 1982–83, the latest year for which figures are available, some 56 per cent. of full value award holders—around 235,000 students—made no claim for reimbursement of excess travel expenditure over and above the basic £50 element. All those students will therefore gain under the new arrangements, the amount depending on where they live. Of the remainder, those who would have claimed less than the £50 or £110, will gain too.

We were naturally concerned to minimise the scale of losses for those who might have become worse off under the new arrangements and we also sought to protect the interests of particular groups of claimants whose travel requirements could not easily be catered for under a non-reimbursement system.

Special provision has therefore been made for those studying abroad or away from the main place of study, and for the disabled. Furthermore, in response to representations made to us during a consultative period earlier this year, we made special arrangements for those on courses before 1 September this year who face unavoidably high travelling expenses.

Mr. Roy Beggs (Antrim, East)

I want to place on record our great concern that the rough justice that has been handed out to students in Northern Ireland does not reflect any concern on the part of Government to ensure that there was fair treatment for students in relation to travel awards.

Mr. Brooke

It is fair for the hon. Gentleman to say that, but the awards in Northern Ireland do not fall under the regulations.

Although it is inevitable that any change from a system under which costs are reimbursed to a more broadly-based approach will mean that some students gain while others lose, it is important to see the change in its proper perspective. We have been urged to think again about the new system. As I said in an Adjournment debate earlier this year, we are prepared to examine any new evidence of hardship that results from the new arrangements. If insurmountable local problems arise it would clearly not be sensible to tackle them with an across-the-board increase in the provision for travel.

Mr. David Crouch (Canterbury)

My hon. Friend is about to be helpful. He knows that I have several thousand student constituents at the university of Kent. Because many of them live a long way from the university—perhaps 20 miles—and are in college only one year out of three, they are in great hardship. On Friday I said that some of them are suffering a loss of as much as £200 a year. That is money that they do not have. I must confess that I have misinformed my hon. Friend. The figure is more like £300 a year. Their number is not counted in thousands, but there are some. There are cases of hardship.

Mr. Brooke

I take my hon. Friend's point. We have never denied that there are some plces where there are special difficulties. I repeat the pledge that I gave earlier.

Mr. Paddy Ashdown (Yeovil)

Has the Secretary of State advised the Minister that even in Leeds the cost of travel from the largest student hall to the university exceeds the amount provided?

Mr. Brooke

I am prepared to take a series of local points, but we are administering a national policy.

There are three other important improvements in the regulations.

Mr. Madden

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Brooke


Mr. Madden

The Minister gives way only to Liberals and Official Unionists.

Mr. Brooke

Not at all.

We have listened sympathetically to the case for an increase in the allowance for extra weeks of study, especially by medical students. I do not want to encourage anyone to think that we can go further than the level that we have so far reached, but the extra weeks allowance has been increased by £2.80 a week. That is incorporated in the regulations. We have also listened sympathetically to representations that all periods when a student is available for work should be counted for the purposes of establishing independent status under the awards regulations on the basis of three years' self-support before the start of the course. These regulations give effect to that. The regulations have been amended significantly to increase the sum that a student may receive by way of sponsorship from his employer, or prospective employer, without losing grant. Those details were announced just before the recess. It is to be hoped that the increased sponsorship levels will attract more students to courses that relate to the wealth-creating parts of the economy.

Since 1962, when the present mandatory awards system was introduced by a Conservative Government, successive Governments have striven to give effect to the principles that were set out in the report of the inquiry chaired by Sir Colin Anderson. The present Government are no exception. The number of full value award holders has risen since 1979 from 370,000 to 440,000 this year—an increase of almost one fifth. These are major achievements. My hon. Friend the Member for Northampton, North (Mr. Marlow) who introduced a European element to the debate, should note that the award arrangements in Britain are without question the most generous in the West. Our awards system continues to be generous. The regulations and the changes that they embody have been governed by the principles of equity and efficiency. There is therefore every reason why hon. Members should not oppose them.

10.50 pm
Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Denton and Reddish)

Those who have listened to the Minister, and students who read what he had to say in the days to come, will be profoundly disappointed. There was not one word of concern about or compassion for students who find it increasingly difficult to manage on their grants. The Minister seemed to have great concern for the taxpayer. Has he forgotten that many of today's taxpayers enjoyed student grants in their turn? I should think that almost all of them would be willing to contribute through their taxes at least to ensure that the level of grant now is as good as that which they enjoyed. It is unfortunate that we are fast moving to a position where the student grant will be at its lowest level since 1962. Most of those who enjoyed grants in the past will have enjoyed a higher level of grant than those who are currently students or to become students.

The Minister claimed that there is no evidence that students are unable to move into higher education because they cannot persuade their parents to pay their contribution to the grant. He said that the age participation rate is higher now than ever before. I remind him that the qualified participation rate has been falling, which suggests that some students who achieve good A-level results are not moving on into higher education.

The Government's policy on student grants appears to be in a shambles. There seems to be no overall policy and no clear direction. Instead, the Government move from one hiccup to the next. They seem to have no idea of the problems that are involved in trying to live on a low income. Earlier there was an effort to produce a scheme for student loans. That was followed by a proud announcement that student loans were to be abandoned. However, the Government know that they are forcing more and more students to use a backdoor method of getting loans. More and more students end up completing their courses with substantial overdrafts. There is clear evidence that some of them are unable to take up professional training because of the level of their overdrafts and the need to clear them.

Much has been made of the Prime Minister's promise shortly before the Conservative party won the 1979 election. She said that there would be a major review. What major review has there been? There have been some departmental efforts to examine policy, but there has been no major review. It was said that the highest priority would be given to reducing the parental contribution, but there has been no review after five years of Conservative Government and the parental contribution has steadily been increased. The minimum grant was halved this year.

The Government say that no decision has been made about this year's grant. I would hope so, because in theory the Government are still to meet the National Union of Students to discuss grant levels. There seem to be persistent leaks that the Treasury has insisted that the minimum grant will be abolished for next year. The Government should look to the source of the leaks. If there is no truth in the leaks, it is amazing that so many have been convinced that the Government have reached a policy decision.

There must be a full and independent review of student grants. We should return to an Anderson-type inquiry. The students are pressing for such an inquiry, and the Government should remember that the Anderson inquiry was set up by a previous Conservative Administration and that its recommendations were implemented by a Conservative Administration. That Administration set student grants at a level that was 30 per cent. higher than it is now. Surely we have the right to ask for a full and independent inquiry to consider whether students should be independent. I am sure that the majority of people will consider that they should be at 18 years of age. It should consider also whether the present level of grant is adequate in any way.

The case for independence has been well made already. Once a person is 18 years of age, he has every right to be treated as an independent individual. He should not be expected to ask his parents to make up his grant. We are aware that many parents fail to make up the grant or, worse still, apply strings to the money that they hand over. Some parents say that they will make up the grant only if the student takes a course of which they approve or if he behaves in a particular way.

Many students do not ask their parents for the full contribution because they feel that it will cause hardship to other members of their family if they do so. There are many students who struggle by without the full amount. They suffer hardship and do not derive full benefit from their courses. It is high time that we set up a full and independent inquiry.

The grant has been eroded by between 10 per cent. and 14 per cent. since 1979, and the Government have worsened the problems of various students. The Minister talked about medical students and their longer term. He told us that the Government have given them an extra £2.80 a week. Is that right? Many medical students have travel costs and the change in the travel arrangements will cost many of them more than £2.80. Many medical students have a daily travel cost of at least £1 and it is obvious that that works out at more than £2.80 over a week.

The Under-Secretary of State said that some students have benefited from the changed travel arrangements. I believe that a large number of students have lost out. It is important that we have a full review of the system and ensure that the students have an adequate income so that they can get the full benefit from the higher education system.

The loss of money to students means that not just students but local communities suffer. Many students look for part-time jobs. Most of them find it extremely difficult to obtain vacation work, but some manage to get part-time jobs which would otherwise have gone to others in the community—people who now have to sign on as out of work. Groups such as landladies, local shopkeepers and those who run various forms of local entertainment are disadvantaged if students have less money to spend. Student travel around the country well illustrates that change. In Morecambe the landladies are disadvantaged because some of the students feel that they can no longer live in reasonable accommodation in Morecambe. They press to live close to the university. The same happens at Herne Bay, Whitley Bay and elsewhere. Students have less money to spend, so they must either press the landladies to keep rents down or move closer to the campus. The local community therefore loses out.

There is about £8.5 million less for students in London. That means that they have £8.5 million less to spend in the centre of London—perhaps £8.5 million taken from transport. I have a nice illustration of what is happening at the university in Manchester. A fortnight ago, I saw large numbers of students walking—that may be good for them—while much of the public transport going down the road by their side was unused. Instead of students contributing towards keeping the public transport system going, a little less money is going into that system.

There will be a distorting effect. The Under-Secretary suggested that over a period students should change the places to which they go and aim for those universities with accommodation close to campus. That is small consolation to places such as Manchester and Kent. When the universities were built, buildings were supposed to be on a site that took into account the availability of accommodation in some of the neighbouring holiday resorts. I would not like students' choices of the universities and polytechnics to which they wish to go to be overinfluenced because of the change in the travel regulations. We should be giving a fair deal to those universities and polytechnics where there is a distance between campus and accommodation. The Government certainly are not doing that.

It has been pointed out that the Government carried out a survey into travel costs based on last year when more local authorities had a cheap fare policy. If the Government force out the cheap fare policy, the results of their survey will be out of date. The real indictment of the Government is the fact that the Scottish Office carried out a careful survey and came down against introducing this system. We now see the unfairness of a Scottish student placed side by side with an English student and receiving different support for travel expenses.

The Government claimed that the travel changes would save administration costs. The National Union of Students and many hon. Members could have offered the Government alternatives. If the Government had taken the simplest alternative and doubled the travel grant, they would have substantially reduced administration. To avoid imposing hardship on students, it would have been worth continuing the old system.

There will be increased pressure on higher education institutions to provide more accommodation on campus. The travel changes are affecting lodging costs. Representations have been made to me by Oxford and inner London polytechnic students to the effect that already those lodgings that are close to campus are tending to put up their prices.

Because of the danger of rate-capping, local authorities are finding it harder and harder to pay discretionary awards. Some postgraduates on career courses and students who have to repeat their courses due to having suffered genuine illness are finding it very difficult to obtain discretionary awards. It is highly regrettable that there is nothing in the regulations about making grants available to 16 to 19-year-olds, so that they can move on to higher education.

For the past three years these regulations have been debated in Committee or during a very brief debate in the Chamber. If the Government are not prepared to give the NUS a full review, they should find time for a proper debate to be held in the House, lasting a full day, so that hon. Members can debate all the problems that students bring to us. For some crazy reason, the Government have decided that they want to reduce the demand for higher education, and are doing so by reducing the level of student support. We believe that we should be expanding higher education and ensuring that there is adequate support for students to enable them to benefit fully from it. We shall, therefore, be joining the alliance in voting against the regulations.

11 pm

Mrs. Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

Not surprisingly, I wish to address my remarks entirely to the question of student travel costs. I am very well aware that the Minister has limited funds at his disposal and must do his best to distribute them fairly and to ensure that the maximum number of young people who are suitably qualified can go on to further education. Presumably, these grants have in the past been calculated on the basis of a student's needs in order that he may effectively pursue his academic studies neither in opulence—which we would not wish—nor in penury, which we would not wish either.

I would not complain if students, in common with most other sectors of the community in almost every country of the world, had to bear their share of the sacrifices that the current world recession is enforcing on everyone. I have certainly never pretended to my students that I would put their claims above those of the pensioners, without whose efforts in war and in peace, there would be no universities, and certainly no free universities. However, I complain when one particular group of students is singled out for more than its fair share of this burden.

When the proposals for student travel were first put forward for consultation, my hon. Friend the Minister was inundated with protests. I give him credit for the fact that he listened, and altered the draft regulations to take account of some of the hardship that would have been caused by his original proposals. But I represent a middle distance university. We are not assisted in any way by those alterations. I do not share the view of the president of the NUS or of the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish (Mr. Bennett). Indeed, I resent an hon. Member getting up and speaking for my students. I know exactly what the housing situation is in Lancaster and Morecambe, and I can speak for my students without any assistance from the hon. Member for Denton and Reddish.

I do not agree with the president of the NUS or the hon. Gentleman, who have suggested that students will no longer go to universities such as Lancaster. I believe that the reputation of our university is so firmly established that the young will wish to continue to attend it. But during their stay, they will have a significantly harder time than other students. In the letter sent to me on 31 January by my hon. Friend the Minister, he says that the new flat rate will reduce the administrative costs of local education authorities. I am sure that he is aware that, since then, the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals has offered to bear all the administrative costs of the present refund system. Thus that argument goes out of the window.

In a reply to an adjournment debate initiated by one of my hon. Friends—who are generally much more interested in this subject than Opposition Members—my hon. Friend the Minister suggested that students should seek creative solutions. Mine did: they tried to start a cheap bus service, only to find that they needed an operator's licence. It is perfectly true that the proposals of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport may help, but at the moment the best that the student union executive has managed to achieve is an eight-days bus card for £8 or a monthly commuter card for £76 return, which is about to go up. But even before the rise it leaves him £128 a year worse off. The Minister calls that rough justice. I call it rough, but it is certainly not my idea of justice.

The Minister said—I was delighted to hear him say it; he almost melted me—that he will look at new evidence in particular areas. He will have to look at my area, but since that is merely a hope for the future, and these statutory instruments are not amendable, I cannot support the Government on an overall package 'which includes what I believe to be real injustice.

11.5 pm

Mr. Dave Nellist (Coventry, South-East)

I oppose the regulations, and in particular the reduction in the travel reimbursement to that element which it is now proposed to include in the grant—£100 or those who study away from home in the first year as a student and £160 for those who stay at home to study.

Yesterday, in a written answer to a question—it was repeated this evening—the Minister who spoke for the Government said that if any clear evidence of real hardship were to emerge in future years the Government would be ready to reconsider the new arrangements. Tonight there have already been some examples—I intend to give some more—of that real hardship emerging. I shall give them not in the hope that the Minister will this evening decide to withdraw the regulations but, to demonstrate to him the scale of the changes and their effect on many thousands of students.

When the Department of Education and Science announced the changes, it said that it would be up to the students to decide how best to arrange their affairs in the light of the total resources available to them. That statement was made after the closing date of applications to universities, which also affects student's choices of polytechnics. Is the Minister aware of such minor details? Is he aware that students must choose, on the grounds of the courses offered, and qualifications obtained and required, the type of institution they want, whether it is industry-based or pure academic work? Is he aware that not all institutions have considerable accommodation in cheap halls of residence close by on campus, and that the demand for places in higher education has increased to the point where even interviews are no longer held, as in one department at Coventry polytechnic? How can students arrange their affairs according to the resources available? How can they do this when they do not even know what their daily travel costs will be until after they start at the institution?

Is the Minister aware that the changes to travel costs will raise the rent levels for students in certain areas of towns and cities, as we have already seen in the inner city areas of Coventry, where students are trying to cut down their costs of daily travel by trying to secure private rented accommodation in areas surrounding universities and polytechnics? Is the Minister aware that if student travel costs are above £100 a year those costs have to be met out of the maintenance grant? Thus, it is a cut either in the living standards of the students or a cut in the purchasing of books and materials, and thus a danger to academic standards, or both. If the students do not pay the costs, their parents or guardians must, regardless of the parents' ability to pay. The House can well imagine the discrimination against parents with low incomes. It is not a trivial matter.

At Coventry polytechnic, in the heart of Coventry, South-East, there is a student who has travel costs of over £600 a year. As a first-year student, he would have to find £500 of that; as a continuing student, in the second, third and fourth years, £150. That is a clear cut of £5 a week in the living standards of a second, third or fourth-year student, and for a first-year student a cut of £16 a week. That is not trivial; that is evidence of real hardship which the Minister should take into consideration.

Their are other effects which have already been seen in the city of Coventry. Five or eight weeks before the beginning of this term at the polytechnic we had second, third and fourth-year students returning well before the start of term to look for accommodation within walking distance of the polytechnic because of the changs in the travel costs and allowances. The student union welfare bureau at the polytechnic has already been informed of many increases in rent charges, even in substandard accommodation. During the induction week at the polytechnic we had 2,000 new first-year students. The polytechnic considers accommodation in the halls of residence, based on the polytechnic campus site, only for those who come from a long distance away. Such long distances do not include Birmingham, Wolverhampton, Leicester, Rugby, Stratford and Leamington. Those students are told to commute and find their accommodation later in the term. They have to pay high costs for travel in the meantime.

I am still a serving member of the West Midlands county council, and while it continues to exist students can obtain travel cards for £3.25 a week. But even if those cards are used, students living considerable distances from Coventry would have only £8 to £10 a year to travel to and from home to college.

There is another implication, which I do not think the Minister has even remotely considered. It is the effect of the changes on ethnic minorities. Coventry polytechnic has at least 20 young Asian girls who come from Walsall, Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Because of their parents' views on family life, they can study at Coventry only if they return home each day. They are not allowed to live on their own in Coventry. With the changes, either the parents will have to contribute more, or the girls will be told to withdraw. The next time a Minister talks of equal opportunities and opening the doors of education to all, no matter what race or creed, that will sit a little strange, when the changes will put at risk the courses of at least 20 girls at Coventry polytechnic.

There are other implications which I cannot detail because of time. The abolition of the West Midlands county council, the metropolitan counties and the GLC will mean that the present arrangements for travel that lessen the burden will be put at threat. Part of the rationale behind the Government abolishing them is the privatisation of bus services and the raising of prices and profits. The students, with their lower grants, will suffer.

I wish to cite one or two examples of students at Coventry who live in Leicester, Rugby and other areas. One student who lives in Leicester and travels by the cheapest means has costs of £400 a year, £12.50 a week. He will be hard hit by the changes in the regulations. One who lives in Banbury has costs of £59.50 a month by the cheapest method—£476 a year. One who lives in Rugby has travel costs of £31.50 a month by the cheapest form of train season ticket—£252 a year. There are many other such students at Coventry and other institutions throughout the country. Those are the examples for which the Minister asked in his reply to a written question yesterday.

I do not have time to discuss student grants in detail. Already, under the Tory Government of 1984, many students in higher and further education have a weekly income that is less than the poverty allowance paid on the youth training scheme. It is forcing students to chose between fares and food, between heating and books. That is no way for anyone to live, let alone the students whom the Government claim are the future of the economy. Students face a constant financial worry, which is no aid to passing examinations. The House should end means tests and parental contributions and pay full mandatory grants to all students.

Everyone talks of making students financially independent. The Government argue that case in respect of YTS allowances. The regulations reverse any trend towards that. Grants should be equal for all levels of education, both further and higher. I am in favour of the abolition of the tier system of higher and further education.

Grants should be linked to a cost of living index which reflects the things on which students spend their money—rents, food, fares and basic goods. Inflation often affects them differently and at a higher rate than that shown in the retail price index. I hope to see a Labour Government who will institute grant levels that will enable workers to leave their occupations and industry and go into education without suffering a 70 or 75 per cent. fall in their take-home pay.

The Minister spoke of students paying the penalty for the real world and the Government's policies. He said that the money needed to maintain or improve students' grants and allowances could not be found. The House knows that the money exists, but it is not used in the directions that it should be. That is because we have a Government who allow £32 million a day to leave the country and go to South Africa, Korea, Argentina and Brazil to seek higher profits from poverty, low wages and the absence of trade unions. The Government are prepared to waste £4 billion in an attempt to break the National Union of Mineworkers. They are in favour of spending £1.5 million a day on membeship of the Common Market, the institution which has stockpiled 3,700,000 tonnes of wheat, which would be sufficient to save the lives of those in Ethiopia who are suffering malnutrition and starvation for six years.

The list could go on. The money is there. Rather than spend it on higher and further education, the Government want cuts in public expenditure to pay for tax cuts for the rich and super rich. The political lessons to be learnt from the Government's actions are clear. They are being absorbed by more and more students. There is a need for the National Union of Students to affiliate to the Trades Union Congress and the Labour party, to fight for a genuine Socialist education policy. When that day dawns, this Government's policies will be consigned to the dustbin of history.

11.16 pm
Mr. Patrick Thompson (Norwich, North)

I shall not fall into the temptation of commenting upon the stream of irrelevancy we have just heard from the hon. Member for Coventry, South-East (Mr. Nellist).

I should like to refer briefly to travel costs. They are something about which I, like many of my colleagues, am distinctly unhappy. I fully accept that my hon. Friend the Minister is right to resist the overall package demanded by Opposition Members. No doubt during the coming weeks they will continue to press for an impossible cornucopia of goodies in this sphere and all others.

Only the other day I met a lobby from the National Union of Students. When its demands are added up, they come to the incredible figure of £900 million. We must move away from the unrealities which are spoken of by the Opposition.

I hope that my hon. Friend will think again about travel costs, and that he will take into account, as he has hinted today he will, the special problems faced by universities such as the university of East Anglia. I support what my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South (Mr. Powley) said in an Adjournment debate in July this year when he spoke on behalf of the students at that university and criticised, rightly in my opinion, the travel costs scheme that we are debating.

The university residences of Fifers lane are in my constituency. The bus fares for the students to go to the university regularly will be £120 a year after a recent increase. Of course, that sum does not include the travel costs which will be incurred when they go from their homes to the university at the beginning and end of each term.

I hope that the Minister will agree that the system is distinctly unfair, because other students at the university of East Anglia have admitted to me that they will be receiving about £100 which they do not need. I oppose this part of the statutory instrument because itis inequitable. I therefore hope that the Minister will take account of what my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich, South said and will reconsider the system and go not for a more expensive system—I am not asking for that—but for a fairer system.

11.19 pm
Mr. Fred Silvester (Manchester, Withington)

The Minister knows my views on travel grants. I listened with great care to his speech. He will forgive me if I say that I found it marginally unconvincing that the Government's economic policy depends upon depriving students in my constituency of £100 a year.

The basic facts of the matter are simple. We are proposing to give students an increase of 4 per cent. next year. For a considerable number of students, that will not be true. We shall be taking sums of money away from them, and that will leave them worse off than they are now. I think that it is true to say that it is possible for sums of up to £150 to be lost, which would be 8.5 per cent. of a student's grant. If we in the House were suddenly asked to drop 8.5 per cent. of our income, we would not be too pleased. Some of us will remember the debate on the parliamentary mileage allowance and the views expressed on that occasion.

I make a simple point to my hon. Friend the Minister. His proposals are very unconvincing. On his own figures, under half of the people are involved in the administrative costs. We have heard many suggestions of the way in which the administrative problems could be dealt with, and some of us who have been around in politics for some time get pretty cynical about the view that administrative problems are necessarily important in dealing with matters of justice. We have had no figures for the administrative savings that would accrue.

The suggestion was also made that there is an open-ended commitment. Governments have to face many open-ended commitments. What matters is the size of the commitment. There is no large-scale open-ended commitment on this matter. The Government should face the fact that we have put forward a proposal that is giving money to people who have no justification for receiving it, and taking money from people who have a justification for receiving it. I am sorry to put it so simplistically, but that is what it boils down to. Why on earth should we make such a proposal when there seems to be no gain in either equity or public expenditure?

I am sorry to have to say to my hon. Friend that I shall support the Opposition prayer. It is sad to have to do that because, if we face the truth, we see that there is little to gain in the proposal.

In conclusion, I should like to refer to a letter from the senior warden of some halls of residence in my constituency, which emphasises once again the fact that this is not a little matter in areas that are not campus universities, but rely upon halls of residence or digs at some distance from the university. As the senior warden said, the matter concerns no fewer than three quarters of the people in his halls of residence at Manchester polytechnic. There are 765 students in six halls of residence. It is ridiculous to ask us to go through this hoop unnecessarily for what will be a minuscule saving, which, in the end, we shall have to repeal at some stage.

11.23 pm
Mr. Brooke

With the leave of the House, let me add a word in response to what has been said in the debate and to what I said earlier about travel costs and the future.

I want to give the new system a chance to settle down with changing patterns of travel. I said earlier that we would look at any new evidence put to us of hardship in particular areas resulting from the new arrangements. I do not envisage changes that would complicate the regulations or make the jobs of local education authorities more difficult in administering them, as that runs against our purposes this year. However, if hardship is proved and a means available to overcome any problems is available in an administratively efficient way, I can assure the House that we shall look at that.

11.24 pm
Mr. Beith

I have listened carefully to what has been a very useful debate and I have been struck by the fact that every hon. Member who has spoken has strongly criticised some aspect of the regulations. Criticism was directed mainly at two aspects—travel costs and parental contributions.

On travel costs, the Minister said that he wanted to give the new system a chance to settle down. We do not wish to give it a chance to settle down—I am sure that many of the Minister's hon. Friends agree with us—because it is not just and does not deserve to be allowed to settle down. It involves giving public money to people who, on the Minister's own evidence, do not require it for the purposes for which it is given at the expense of those who need it and will be deprived of it. I do not see why a system which has that as its major feature should be given any opportunity at all to settle down.

The Minister claimed as a merit of the scheme that it gave a windfall benefit to students who hitherto had made no claim for additional travel costs—presumably because they saw no need to do so. That is not an advantage of the scheme. It is a shameful criticism of it and the Minister's Treasury colleagues should seize upon it as not being a proper use of public money.

The Minister described the previous system as inefficient and expensive. That implies strong criticism of his Scottish Office colleagues who propose to continue that very scheme on the grounds that it is not inefficient, that the expense is reasonable in relation to the task to be carried out and that at least the money spent will go to those who need it.

The Minister does not have to wait for hardship to be proved. It has already been proved. He could have gone a long way to appreciate the amount of concern shown by saying that he would set about returning to the previous system.

The Minister might also have taken a good deal more notice of the comments made about the parent contribution. I clearly implied that I did not expect him to make any radical changes to the benefit of parents making contributions in the present circumstances. Nevertheless, the Minister failed to recognise how far he has departed from the objectives set for the Government by the Prime Minister when she was Leader of the Opposition.

Having failed to convince the House that there is logic and sense in two crucial parts of the regulations, and especially in one of them, the Minister does not deserve the support of the House or of his hon. Friends.

Mr. Brooke

In relation to the parental contribution scale, is the hon. Gentleman arguing that we should not move from the regressive scale that we inherited from the Labour Government to the progressive scale proposed in the regulations?

Mr. Beith

I favour a progressive system, but the net effect of the changes being made—and the effect is cumulative over a period—is that the share of the cost of higher education to be borne by parents is increasing drastically while that borne by the Government is declining. That is so far from the original objective set for the Government that the Minister should have done more to explain it, especially to those of his hon. Friends who have been so critical of the parental contribution system. As I have said, I do not believe that the Government can achieve miracles in this respect at this juncture, but they have been trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes and pretending that they are lightening the load for parents when in fact for parents as a whole they are making it heavier.

The greatest weakness of all, however, has been shown to be the travel costs aspect. As that is the major change introduced by the regulations, and as it is so patently absurd and so patently a misuse of public funds, I hope that Conservative Members will feel in no way obligated to support the regulations but will join us in the Division Lobby.

11.28 pm
Mr. Tony Marlow (Northampton, North)

At 18, our young people attain the age of majority and are entitled to vote and to fight and die for their country; they are independent—unless they opt for higher education.

If young people go into higher education, their independence depends on the income of their parents, a matter over which they have no control but which may determine their future financial viability. That is wrong, unjust and inequitable.

What happens to a young person who does not get on with his parents and has no communications with them? Is he not entitled to a university education? What happens to a young person whose parents are not inclined to fill in the necessary forms? What happens to the young person whose parents are not able to fill in the forms? What happens to a young person whose parents have difficulty providing the full parental contribution, which often happens when there are other children in a family and the parents have to concentrate support and finance on the education and upbringing of the younger children, having previously spent a vast sum bringing up the older children?

The Government's scheme is unfair, unjust and unsustainable. We should do away with it.

Question put:

The House divided: Ayes 137, Noes 210.

Division No. 479] [11.30 pm
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Beggs, Roy
Alton, David Beith, A. J.
Anderson, Donald Benn, Tony
Ashdown, Paddy Bennett, A. (Dent'n & Red'sh)
Bagier, Gordon A. T. Bidwell, Sydney
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Blair, Anthony
Barnett, Guy Boothroyd, Miss Betty
Barron, Kevin Boyes, Roland
Beckett, Mrs Margaret Brown, Gordon (D'f'mline E)
Brown, N. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne E) Leighton, Ronald
Brown, R. (N'c'tle-u-Tyne N) Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)
Bruce, Malcolm Lewis, Terence (Worsley)
Callaghan, Jim (Heyw'd & M) Litherland, Robert
Cartwright, John Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Loyden, Edward
Clarke, Thomas McCartney, Hugh
Clay, Robert McDonald, Dr Oonagh
Cocks, Rt Hon M. (Bristol S.) McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Cohen, Harry McKelvey, William
Concannon, Rt Hon J. D. Maclennan, Robert
Conlan, Bernard McNamara, Kevin
Cook, Frank (Stockton North) McTaggart, Robert
Cook, Robin F. (Livingston) McWilliam, John
Corbett, Robin Madden, Max
Corbyn, Jeremy Marek, Dr John
Cowans, Harry Maxton, John
Craigen, J. M. Maynard, Miss Joan
Cunliffe, Lawrence Michie, William
Cunningham, Dr John Mikardo, Ian
Dalyell, Tam Nellist, David
Davies, Ronald (Caerphilly) O'Brien, William
Davis, Terry (B'ham, H'ge H'l) O'Neill, Martin
Deakins, Eric Owen, Rt Hon Dr David
Dewar, Donald Park, George
Dobson, Frank Parry, Robert
Dormand, Jack Patchett, Terry
Douglas, Dick Pavitt, Laurie
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs G. Penhaligon, David
Eadie, Alex Pike, Peter
Eastham, Ken Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)
Evans, John (St. Helens N) Prescott, John
Ewing, Harry Radice, Giles
Fatchett, Derek Randall, Stuart
Fields, T. (L'pool Broad Gn) Rees, Rt Hon M. (Leeds S)
Fisher, Mark Richardson, Ms Jo
Flannery, Martin Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Foster, Derek Robertson, George
Fraser, J. (Norwood) Robinson, G. (Coventry NW)
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Ross, Ernest (Dundee W)
Godman, Dr Norman Rowlands, Ted
Golding, John Sheerman, Barry
Hamilton, James (M'well N) Short, Ms Clare (Ladywood)
Hancock, Mr. Michael Silkin, Rt Hon J.
Hardy, Peter Silvester, Fred
Haynes, Frank Skinner, Dennis
Heffer, Eric S. Smith, C,(Isl'ton S & F'bury)
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Snape, Peter
Home Robertson, John Steel, Rt Hon David
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath) Straw, Jack
Hoyle, Douglas Thomas, Dr R. (Carmarthen)
Hughes, Roy (Newport East) Thorne, Stan (Preston)
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S) Warden, Gareth (Gower)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Wareing, Robert
Janner, Hon Greville Welsh, Michael
Jenkins, Rt Hon Roy (Hillh'd) Williams, Rt Hon A.
John, Brynmor Winnick, David
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside)
Kaufman, Rt Hon Gerald Tellers for the Ayes:
Kennedy, Charles Mr. Michael Meadowcroft and
Lamond, James Mr. Archy Kirkwood.
Leadbitter, Ted
Adley, Robert Blackburn, John
Alexander, Richard Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Boscawen, Hon Robert
Amess, David Bottomley, Peter
Arnold, Tom Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
Baker, Nicholas (N Dorset) Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Baldry, Tony Boyson, Dr Rhodes
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Brandon-Bravo, Martin
Batiste, Spencer Bright, Graham
Bellingham, Henry Brinton, Tim
Bendall, Vivian Brooke, Hon Peter
Benyon, William Brown, M. (Brigg & Cl'thpes)
Best, Keith Browne, John
Bevan, David Gilroy Bruinvels, Peter
Biffen, Rt Hon John Bryan, Sir Paul
Biggs-Davison, Sir John Buck, Sir Antony
Bulmer, Esmond Mills, Sir Peter (West Devon)
Burt, Alistair Mitchell, David (NW Hants)
Butler, Hon Adam Moate, Roger
Butterfill, John Montgomery, Fergus
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Morris, M. (N'hampton, S)
Carttiss, Michael Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Cash, William Morrison, Hon P. (Chester)
Chalker, Mrs Lynda Moynihan, Hon C.
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Mudd, David
Chapman, Sydney Neale, Gerrard
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Needham, Richard
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Nelson, Anthony
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Neubert, Michael
Colvin, Michael Newton, Tony
Conway, Derek Nicholls, Patrick
Coombs, Simon Norris, Steven
Cope, John Onslow, Cranley
Corrie, John Oppenheim, Phillip
Couchman, James Ottaway, Richard
Currie, Mrs Edwina Page, Richard (Herts SW)
Dickens, Geoffrey Patten, John (Oxford)
Dicks, Terry Pattie, Geoffrey
Dorrell, Stephen Pawsey, James
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord J. Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Dover, Den Percival, Rt Hon Sir Ian
du Cann, Rt Hon Edward Pollock, Alexander
Dunn, Robert Powell, William (Corby)
Durant, Tony Powley, John
Edwards, Rt Hon N. (P'broke) Prentice, Rt Hon Reg
Eggar, Tim Proctor, K. Harvey
Emery, Sir Peter Raffan, Keith
Evennett, David Rathbone, Tim
Fallon, Michael Renton, Tim
Forman, Nigel Rhodes James, Robert
Fox, Marcus Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Franks, Cecil Ridsdale, Sir Julian
Gardner, Sir Edward (Fylde) Robinson, Mark (N'port W)
Grist, Ian Rossi, Sir Hugh
Grylls, Michael Ryder, Richard
Gummer, John Selwyn Sackville, Hon Thomas
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Sainsbury, Hon Timothy
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) St. John-Stevas, Rt Hon N
Hargreaves, Kenneth Shaw, Sir Michael (Scarb')
Hayhoe, Barney Shelton, William (Streatham)
Heathcoat-Amory, David Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Heddle, John Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Hickmet, Richard Sims, Roger
Hill, James Skeet, T. H. H,
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Holland, Sir Philip (Gedling) Soames, Hon Nicholas
Holt, Richard Speed, Keith
Howarth, Gerald (Cannock) Spencer, Derek
King, Roger (B'ham N'field) Squire, Robin
King, Rt Hon Tom Stanbrook, Ivor
Latham, Michael Steen, Anthony
Lawrence, Ivan Stern, Michael
Leigh, Edward (Gainsbor'gh) Stevens, Lewis (Nuneaton)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Stevens, Martin (Fulham)
Lester, Jim Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Lewis, Sir Kenneth (Stamf'd) Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Lilley, Peter Stradling Thomas, J.
Lloyd, Ian (Havant) Sumberg, David
Lord, Michael Tapsell, Peter
McCrindle, Robert Taylor, John (Solihull)
MacGregor, John Temple-Morris, Peter
MacKay, Andrew (Berkshire) Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs M.
MacKay, John (Argyll & Bute) Thomas, Rt Hon Peter
Maclean, David John Thompson, Donald (Calder V)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New F'st) Thompson, Patrick (N'ich N)
Major, John Thorne, Neil (Ilford S)
Malins, Humfrey Thurnham, Peter
Maples, John Townend, John (Bridlington)
Marland, Paul Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Mates, Michael Tracey, Richard
Mather, Carol Twinn, Dr Ian
Maude, Hon Francis van Straubenzee, Sir W.
Mayhew, Sir Patrick Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Merchant, Piers Viggers, Peter
Meyer, Sir Anthony Waddington, David
Miller, Hal (B'grove) Walden, George
Walker, Bill (T'side N) Winterton, Mrs Ann
Waller, Gary Winterton, Nicholas
Walters, Dennis Wolfson, Mark
Wardle, C. (Bexhill) Wood, Timothy
Warren, Kenneth Woodcock, Michael
Watson, John Yeo, Tim
Watts, John Younger, Rt Hon George
Wells, Sir John (Maidstone)
Whitfield, John Tellers for the Noes:
Whitney, Raymond Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones and
Wilkinson, John Mr. Peter Lloyd.

Question accordingly negatived.