HL Deb 25 July 1988 vol 500 cc29-30

14 Clause 115, page 113, line 5, at end insert— ("(5A) The Council shall appoint a sub-committee to advise on its functions in relation to universities in Scotland.").

The Commons disagreed to the above amendment but proposed the following amendment in lieu thereof

15 Clause 115, page 191, line 23, at end insert—

("Scottish and Welsh Committees of Universities Funding Council

9A. The Universities Funding Council shall establish committees under paragraph 9 above for the purpose of advising the Council on the exercise of their functions in relation to universities in Scotland and universities in Wales respectively.").

The Lord Chancellor

My Lords, I beg to move that the House do not insist on their Amendment No. 14 to which the Commons have disagreed and do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 15 in lieu thereof..

As your Lordships will recall, the Government have long accepted that there should be a body to advise the Universities Funding Council on matters concerning the Scottish universities. In keeping with the generally facilitative nature of this part of the Bill, we had not thought it necessary to set out this kind of detail on the face of the legislation. This House took a contrary view. As noble Lords will sec, the Government and the other place have accepted the spirit of that amendment. But the alternative that comes back from the other place makes the following changes to the wording that your Lordships agreed. First, it extends the requirement also to the intended Welsh committee of the Universities Funding Council. I feel that that is particularly appropriate because I happened to be in Wales on the day that your Lordships passed the measure in favour of the Welsh committee..

Secondly, the alternative corrects the nomenclature. While the University Grants Committee has sub-committees the Universities Funding Council will have committees. The correct word obviously is "committee". Thirdly, it places the provision more appropriately in Schedule 6 alongside the other provisions relating to committees of the funding council. I beg to move.

Moved, That the House do not insist on their Amendment No. 14 to which the Commons have disagreed and do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 15 in lieu thereof.—(The Lord Chancellor).

Lord Morton of Shuna

My Lords, all I wish to say is that I am very glad that the Commons did not disagree to a radical extent with regard to the Scottish sub-committee. As a Scot, and speaking from this Bench, it would be unwise of me to say anything deterimental to the establishment of a Welsh committee.

The Earl of Perth

My Lords, I also have pleasure in accepting the amendment. I think that the wording is a little better than that which we put down—for example, in elevating us to a committee as opposed to a sub-committee. The only difference is the addition of the Welsh committee; and it would be churlish of us to object to that..

As your Lordships know, the university education of Scotland is very different from that of either England or Wales. To have Wales also with us in a committee, albeit a different committee, is commendable. It recognises the difference that I have mentioned. We have to thank the Government for recognising the force of our amendment..

Lord Grimond

My Lords, I must apologise, in particular to the noble and learned Lord the Lord Chancellor, for having missed his words. As someone who has put down this amendment three times, or has added his name to it, I should like to thank the noble and learned Lord for having virtually accepted the argument. Like the noble Earl, Lord Perth, I accept the Government's amendment. I am glad that the historic and very important position of Scottish universities is now recognised on the face of the statute, and it has been on most statutes since the Act of Union.

The Lord Chancellor

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lords who have accepted the small alterations that we have made in the wording of this provision, while accepting the spirit of what your Lordships had agreed upon.

On Question, Motion agreed to.