HC Deb 01 March 1994 vol 238 cc777-8
14. Mr. Wareing

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what information he has on the percentage of students attending universities who are supplementing their grants or loans by employment in term-time jobs.

Mr. Boswell

Information derived from the recent student income and expenditure survey indicates that, of students sampled, 23 per cent. had some earnings during term-time, and rather more during the Christmas and Easter vacations. Information is not available to indicate whether the students concerned were in receipt of grants or student loans.

Mr. Wareing

Is not it absolutely deplorable, after the years of the great Thatcherite economic miracle, that students today are in a worse position than they were before 1979? Is not it disgraceful that the Government seem to have no plans whatever to encourage students to keep to their main task, study during term-time? What are the Government going to do about it?

Mr. Boswell

I find the question absolutely extraordinary. The hon. Gentleman needs to remember how many universities there were in Liverpool when my right hon. and noble Friend became Prime Minister. He also needs to recognise the huge achievements of the two universities in Liverpool in establishing a city of learning. In his spare time, he may care to reflect that we now have record student numbers, no increase in student drop-out and the most effective and successful higher education system in the world.

Mr. Ian Bruce

Does my hon. Friend agree that part of young people's education must include doing part-time and holiday work, and that it is educationally beneficial to them?

Mr. Boswell

It is very much a matter of degree, but not many students get by without working at some stage during their studies. It is the norm in many other countries that students must work their way through college, whereas we produce a generous student support package. That is reflected in the efficiency arid timing of our degrees and the quality of the results achieved.