HL Deb 01 June 1960 vol 224 cc187-9

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

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider giving permission for up to 100 of the 2,000 state scholarships annually awarded in this country to be tenable at Canadian or other Commonwealth universities if the recipient so elects.]


My Lords, the question of awards to students attending first degree courses at universities has been under consideration by a Committee appointed by Her Majesty's Government under the Chairmanship of Sir Colin Anderson. The report of the Committee has now been received and Her Majesty's Government will consider this matter in the light of the Committee's recommendations.


My Lords, I am much obliged to the Government spokesman for his Answer. Could he give us some indication of when we shall have the Report of the Committee?


My Lords, I think it is being published to-morow. I do not think I am far wrong.


My Lords, I hope the noble Viscount will accelerate consideration of this particular matter—the more specific and smaller matter than the wider terms of reference—which the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, has placed upon the Order Paper to-day. It appears to me—and I am sure the noble Viscount will agree—that both in Canada and in Australia, and maybe in other parts of the Commonwealth, there are a number of universities with very high academic standards, offering wide opportunities to their students, perhaps wider in some respects than we can offer in this country. Would the noble Viscount not agree that it is most desirable to make it possible for boys and girls from our own schools, if they so elect, to proceed to those universities? May we hope that any obstacles that may exist for the encouragement of such movement will be swept aside?


My Lords, I will convey to my right honourable friend the substance of the noble Lord's supplementary question. I would say, however, that there are other Governments to be considered in the matter, apart from our own. I would agree that it is a separate matter from most of the contents of the Anderson Report, but I think we should need to have consultation with the Commonwealth Governments before I could give an answer to that.


My Lords, I would ask the noble Viscount, in the light of his reply, if an important consideration would not be the matter of cost in this regard, by reason of the unfortunate increased cost of maintenance of undergraduates at universities in the Commonwealth outside the United Kingdom, and the cost of transport to and fro. I would also ask whether another consideration is not that of the pressure of university space. Would not the success of the proposal of the noble Lord, Lord Tweedsmuir, depend on reciprocity between Commonwealth countries and the United Kingdom? I believe it would not be a good thing if either Canadian or Australian undergraduates were kept out of their universities by reason of United Kingdom undergraduates taking their places, and vice versa. Therefore, I would ask the noble Viscount if the question of reciprocity in this general regard between the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth countries would not be an essential prerequisite of the success of the proposal.


My Lords, I had the question of space predominantly in my mind when I made the answer I did about consultation. The question of cost I had not considered, but, of course, it is one of the matters which would ordinarily form part of the Government's consideration before arriving at a conclusion on this matter.