HL Deb 28 June 1950 vol 167 cc1127-9

2.36 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask His Majesty's Government, when they propose to make a statement on the future of technical colleges in England and Wales, with special regard to the up-grading of the principal colleges with over 3,000 students.]

[LORD BARNBY had given notice of the following Question: To ask His Majesty's Government whether it is their intention to carry out the recommendations of the Percy and other Committees to create some major Institutes of Technology of University rank by selecting, a small number of existing major Technical Colleges and conferring upon them the requisite status.]


My Lords, with your Lordships' permission, I will answer together the Questions standing in the names of the noble Lords, Lord Calverley and Lord Barnby. As I said during the debate on this subject on March 14 last, my right honourable friend the Minister of Education has put the whole problem of the future development of technological education to the National Advisory Council on Education for Industry and Commerce. That Council, which is in close touch with the University Grants Committee and has consulted them at all stages, is now considering its report, which I understand will be ready in the near future. It would clearly be inappropriate to make any announcement of policy until the Council's Report has been received and considered.


My Lords, arising out of the noble Lord's reply, I should like to ask, first of all, how soon it is expected that the Council will be able to report. Secondly, does the noble Lord not agree that action along the lines indicated in my Question would result in the development of technological institutes so that they could render service to industry in a manner comparable with that given by similar institutions in overseas countries?


My Lords, in answer to the noble Lord's first question, it is impossible to state the exact time when the policy of the Government can be announced. I should like to thank the noble Lord for giving me notice of his second question, but I think he will appreciate the fact that if I were to answer or attempt to answer it to-day I should be indicating the Government's policy, which is exactly what the Government do not feel able to do at the present moment.


My Lords, I should like to ask the noble Lord whether his answers apply to Scotland also, and whether he is aware that conditions in Scotland are totally different from those in England.


My Lords, I am not officially informed on the point, but I feel that I am justified in saying that it does apply to Scotland as well.


My Lords, will the noble Lord give an assurance that the advice of the three great professional engineering institutions will be fully taken into account before a final decision is come to on this and allied questions?


My Lords, I am not at the moment in a position to give a categorical assurance of that kind, but I will see that the noble Lord's point is brought to the notice of the Minister. I can also say that in the negotiations which are being carried on those institutions are being consulted.


My Lords, would the noble Lord, pass on to my noble friend the results of his communication to the Minister?


My Lords, as my noble friends Lord Barnby and Lord Caldecote have asked the supplementaries I was going to ask, I refrain from comment other than to express disappointment.