HC Deb 31 March 1993 vol 222 cc344-5
9. Dr. Godman

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what are his plans for assuming responsibility for funding the eight Scottish universities formerly funded by the Universities Funding Council.

Mr. Lang

I have established the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council which assumes responsibility on 1 April for payment of grants for teaching and research in Scottish higher education institutions.

Dr. Godman

Although I do not expect the Secretary of State to agree with me, may I nevertheless point out to him that the study of Scottish history and of the Scottish trade union movement is as important academically as those applied subjects that much more readily earn revenue in industry and elsewhere? Where funding is concerned, may I ask him for an assurance that scholars and departments specialising in Scottish history and Scottish labour history will not be discriminated against compared with other departments and faculties, particulary those that are seen as revenue earners?

Mr. Lang

As one who read history at university, I of course support the funding of history. The important thing is that one learns the lessons of history. I hope that I can reassure the hon. Gentleman that, while funding decisions of the kind that he describes are for the funding council and not for me, the council has decided to increase the grant allocation for teaching and research to his own former university of Heriot Watt by 9.6 per cent.