HL Deb 25 January 1994 vol 551 cc931-54

6.19 p.m.

Earl Russell rose to move to resolve, That the Education (Mandatory Awards) (No. 2) Regulations 1993 (S.I. 1993, 2914) and the Education (Student Loans) (No. 2) Regulations 1993 (S.I. 1993, 2915) shall not come into force until the right to claim housing benefit and income support during the long vacation has been restored to students.

The noble Earl said: I fear that the House may feel that I am farming the bowling. On the other hand, if one looks at the matter from my point of view, I did not introduce the Statutory Sick Pay Bill, and I did not introduce these regulations. It seems to me that the Government are bowling at my wicket no matter at which end I may be standing, and if the ball is bowled at my wicket, I have to play a stroke.

During the course of the debate, the noble Baroness may wish to draw attention to the difference between the wording of this Motion and of the Prayer moved by my honourable friend Mr. Foster in the other House. The explanation for that is purely in the difference between the procedure of the two Houses. It is much easier to do here what I am doing now, and this Motion is put down with the full prior approval and encouragement of my honourable friend Mr. Foster. The Motion represents party policy. On the other hand, the evidence that I am using and therefore the judgments that I make on it are based entirely on my own personal experience as a university teacher. Therefore those must be individual.

I must declare an interest in my capacity as a university teacher and also in my capacity as a parent.

The noble Baroness may perhaps wish to raise the question whether this is a fatal Motion. It is not a fatal Motion. It is a commencement Motion. It attempts to lay down a conditioned precedent for the commencement of these regulations. If the Government wish to accept that condition, then the regulations can come into force as proposed. However, if the Government were to say that they would sooner be dead than accept the condition, then one might argue that the regulations were rather felo de se than killed as a result of this Motion.

I shall take this point lightly. The noble Baroness offered us a promise in 1990 when we debated the student loans Bill that the grant would be maintained in cash terms at its 1990–91 level. We have had four years. I suppose that that is not a bad run. However, it confirms the great wisdom of the noble Baroness, Lady Blackstone, in insisting in 1990 that before the Government could go beyond 50 per cent. grant and 50 per cent. loan they must have primary legislation. We may yet be very glad of that. I should like to thank the noble Baroness, Lady Blackstone, for ensuring that that is the case.

The change from grant to loan does not seem to me a very wise one in the present situation. First, it will tend to increase the public sector borrowing requirement in the medium term. I should have thought that that was at least unnecessary because if one looks at the figures set out in the White Paper Top-up Loans for Students in which it was argued that until 2007 the net effect of introducing the loans would be to increase public sector borrowing and not to diminish it and one calculates the money forgone, the interest forgone arid the administration costs, that is actually worse for the public sector borrowing requirement than it would be to pay out the money as grant. I thought that we were trying to reduce the public sector borrowing requirement. If the Government are now determined nonetheless to increase it, I should like to know for what motive.

Secondly, the Government are risking a public opinion disaster. We can say about student grants what Mrs. Rumbold once said about child benefit—it is deep in the culture. In 1990 I heard a number of noble Lords say that without the student grant they could not possibly have been here. That sense of attachment to the principle of grants is strong, and challenging it is risky.

As regards the effect of the change to loans on educational practice and experience, I do not believe that I was right and I do not believe that the noble Baroness was right. The person who was right in 1990 was the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, who I see is no longer in his place. I talk to every one of my pupils and advise them to take the loan. Over and over again I meet the deep horror of going into debt which the noble Lord, Lord Boyd-Carpenter, invoked and, in one or two cases, a sense that borrowing money is absolutely wrong in principle. That is why there has been such a low take-up rate of student loans. A great many people prefer to take paid employment during term, to the great detriment of their work, rather than take up these loans. The educational effects of that are serious.

Although I believe that the change to a further element of loans is a mistake, I do not believe that it is the biggest mistake that the Government have made. The biggest mistake of all was that the total package they offered in 1990 was too small by a very large amount. I say that in my capacity as a parent as well as in my capacity as a teacher.

The immediate effect has been a rush into paid employment. That is doing a great deal of harm to the quality of our education. Noble Lords may say that in other countries people take jobs and work their way through college and seem to survive it. I have taught in the United States, and I would agree with that. However, the difference is that south of the Border in this country we have a three-year degree course which is the shortest anywhere in the advanced world. One simply cannot do that and maintain an adequate standard unless people are able to do academic work full time during term and to do a substantial amount in vacations. Considerable parts of a university course, my own special subject class being a case in point, simply cannot he done unless people are able to do large chunks of work during the vacation. I had to tell my special subject class yesterday that they were doing less work than any other class of that sort that I had taught in the past 20 years. I do not know whether I blame them or the Government or if both—as I believe to be the case—in which proportions. I do not like having to blame my students for the Government's misdeeds.

I reckon that the average amount of work done by undergraduates has been approximately halved since I came back from the United States in 1984. That must diminish the quality of the product we are turning out. If the noble Baroness wants to quote statistics about the proportion of first and second-class degrees, I believe that most of us have a feeling, which I certainly share, of repugnance at penalising our undergraduates for what we believe is not their fault. I believe that more than before we are marking on the quality of mind rather than on the quantity of work. The amount of work needed to gain an upper second degree is imperceptibly but quite rapidly diminishing. That cannot be good for the international recognition of our degrees.

The key point of the Motion is to restore the right to benefit—housing benefit and income support during the long vacation—before this change to a further element of loan can come into force. That is I think proper, first and foremost because it is a citizen's right. It is clear—the noble Baroness herself admitted it when we debated the matter last year—that divided over the full number of weeks, student support is below income support levels. Mr. Scott admitted it again in 1990. Anyone who is below income support level as a citizen should be entitled to income support. If they are not, one has second class citizens. In this country we have not believed in that concept for a long time.

Because the basic package is not enough, at present of the sample of people whom I teach this term to my certain knowledge 25 per cent. are taking paid work for more than 12 hours a week. I believe in the right to silence. Therefore if 25 per cent. are known to me, I presume that more than 25 per cent. are actually doing so. We are reaching a situation where the quality of a degree depends more on the parental bank balance than on the quality of the undergraduate. That is not right.

Perhaps I may cite a few individual cases. One of my present pupils is a mature student. He states: For my first 52 weeks"— note the 52 weeks my Lords— almost half … my expenditure was either borrowed or transferred from savings… I did not seek part-time work during my first year, since I wished to establish myself academically. (Expensive though it may have been, I believe this policy has been successful.)". And he is right about that. He continues: Sadly, since I was forced to borrow so heavily during the long vacation, it will not be possible to devote all my working hours to study for the remainder of the course". He is now working in paid work for 16 hours a week. If I need to change his tutorial because I have to go to a meeting—as happens in academic life—it is difficult to find a time.

With the problem of the vacation—and the man, having left home 10 years ago, feels he cannot go back and live off his parents—it is a case where one needs social security. The point about social security is that it deals with anomalies. That is what the safety net is for. Since life is full of anomalies, we need a safety net.

Let us take another case. A pupil at the end of her first year succeeded in getting a job for the long vacation. She thought that she was all right, but she had a cyst and worried, as one does. It occurred to her that it could possibly be malignant. She asked me what she would be able to obtain to live on if it were to prove malignant. She could not have social security because she was a student. She could not rely on her parents because her parents' business was failing. Indeed, her last parental contribution cheque to the grant had bounced. For that reason, her bank would not allow her any help. The only thing I could tell her was that if it proved the worst, she would have to withdraw from the college, become eligible for social security, and apply for readmission another year. Mercifully, the worst did not happen in that case; but it illustrated a real gap in our arrangements.

I am dealing with another case at the moment. A student had a job with the Student Union for six hours a week. The union needed to economise and she lost the job. She has reached the limit of her bank overdraft. Just when she was beginning to search flat out for employment, she was knocked over in a crowd. Someone stepped on her with a heavy boot close to the elbow of her left arm. She happens to be left handed. Nevertheless, she is doing her level best to find jobs that she is capable of doing. But, again, that is precisely the situation which social security is designed to deal with.

The Minister may tell us, as she has before, that student levels of support are higher than they were. Can the Minister produce a single, live student who passed through the financial changes of 1990 who will agree with her that that is the case? If her argument contradicts universal experience, I will ask her to consider whether her figures might possibly be misleading. In fact, I must remind her of the regular 17th century maxim: "The prince may not say that is for the people's good which they see and feel to their hurt." I beg to move.

Moved to resolve, That the Education (Mandatory Awards) (No. 2) Regulations 1993 (S.I. 1993, 2914) and the Education (Student Loans) (No. 2) Regulations 1993 (S.I. 1993, 2915) shall not come into force until the right to claim housing benefit and income support during the long vacation has been restored to students.—(Earl Russell.)

6.35 p.m.

Lord Lucas

My Lords, I listened to the noble Earl, Lord Russell, with great interest. I hope that my noble friend the Minister will pay close attention to the particular examples which he gave because although the Government have to concern themselves with the broad brush, the big figures, nonetheless what is happening to individuals can show us weaknesses in the system. We ought to pay close attention to them to discover how we can improve what we are doing and to avoid the problems outlined by the noble Earl.

However, I do not agree with his main thesis. The noble Earl seems to me to be saying that he finds the principle of loans wrong and concludes that as a broad experience we are not supporting students sufficiently. I disagree on both counts. First, on the concept of student loans, it seems to me that it is a thoroughly reasonable arid respectable thing to ask students who are likely personally to benefit greatly from higher education to make some contribution towards its cost. It is a concept that is widely supported on these Benches and in the report of the National Commission on Education which states: The only way is to seek a contribution from individual students in Higher Education". The concept is supported by the Labour Party in the chapter which it excised from its Green Paper. A debate in another place showed that the Labour Party refused to deny that it will continue with student loans. It is really only the Liberal Party which has no interest in continuing with this principle.

We are asking students to borrow to invest in their future. The parties opposite regularly ask the Government to do that, but when that principle is applied to individuals it suddenly becomes anathema.

As to the level of support, we support students generously. I quote again the National Commission on Education: The United Kingdom has the highest expenditure of all on student welfare and support". That conclusion is backed up by the continuing increase in the number of students benefiting from higher education. There is no evidence that a lot of people are being held back because of the financial constraints under which they have to operate for those three years. The Government have greatly increased the level of support over the past few years by about 30 per cent.—in the current year by 4 per cent., comfortably ahead of inflation.

The point has been well made by the National Commission on Education and others that there is a problem in attracting children from deprived backgrounds into higher education. But surely the problem is that those children in general have received a poor education in their early years. If they were achieving better results in GCE, then surely they would have higher expectation and ambitions and would be going into higher education in greater numbers. It seems sensible not to add to resources in an area where we are already the best but to concentrate them on areas where they are needed, where clearly we are doing a lot worse than many of our competitors.

I believe that the noble Earl's case for additional support fails. Even if it did not, I cannot see that a general change to the benefits system is the best way of adding to student support. I have no hesitation in supporting the Government in opposing the Motion.

6.40 p.m.

Baroness White

My Lords, during the past 12 months I have more than once raised matters concerning the financial and other difficulties which currently face university students. Consequently, I am very much in sympathy with the noble Earl's intentions. We are all indebted to him for the, to my mind, very convincing account that he has given of the difficulties faced by the students with whom he is in regular touch professionally every day of the week. Whether the rather roundabout procedure which he suggests is the most desirable way of improving matters, I am not entirely sure. I remain to be convinced because his intentions are of considerable importance and value.

I am naturally concerned very much with our position in Wales. Only last week an interesting survey was shown in the local press, the Western Mail headed: University applications rise despite fall in places". That is interesting, because if students show an increasing intention of trying to go into university education, they do not seem to be entirely discouraged, though they may not be fully acquainted with the present proposals of the Government in relation to grants and loans. At the University of Wales in Cardiff, which is rapidly growing, there has been an almost 20 per cent. increase in applications. However, there is a decline of about 200 places out of 9,000. That is not a large number but nevertheless it is a decline in the number of places likely to be available. At the university at Aberystwyth in mid-Wales applications have increased by more than 30 per cent. In Bangor, in North Wales, there is a slight decrease, while a slight increase is expected at the University of Glamorgan, which is a former polytechnic.

The estimates do not allow for second thoughts should prospective students become aware of what their position may be under the present proposals. One must guard against misrepresentation. I do not know how many noble Lords realise that this year, for the first time, prospective students have been allowed to name up to eight possible universities on their application form—the UCAS application form—instead of the previous limit of five. Therefore, most of the apparent additions are less than they seem. If students may apply to eight universities which are shown on the list of applications, plainly a good many of those do not really represent greater confidence than before.

The extra numbers are not necessarily a guide to extra student confidence, although from time to time certain noble Lords opposite like to insist that they are. In any case, we are informed that, owing to the cuts proposed by the Government, there are likely to be up to 10,000 fewer places available in the next academic year. Some people will be disappointed, whatever happens.

The noble Earl was absolutely right—students are deeply perturbed at the thought of running into debt. That is particularly so for what, in the old days, we would have called "good working-class families", who did not get into debt. I know that that is not the philosophy of the generation represented by the noble Lord, Lord Lucas, or by the social class to which he belongs. Students are keenly aware that, despite the possible postponement of repayment, they will be overshadowed by the thought of being in debt. They can see before them the current generation of students, many of whom seemingly face endless searches for worthwhile jobs. We surely all know families where the parents are now deeply concerned as to what their graduate son or daughter will be able to do with the education for which they have struggled.

Yet the Government have drastically cut down—I make it by close on 10 years—the period during which student grants and loans would gradually, more or less, be made to balance. It has to be done much more rapidly. Meanwhile, the so-called access funds are hardly to be increased at all. Furthermore, students will become liable for the domestic fuel tax which we discussed last year in this context in the House. We then commented on the high cost of adequately warming student lodgings, particularly those in substandard houses with the threat to health which that can entail.

Finally, the difficulty of finding vacational work or fitting it in with the modularisation of courses—which is a new problem—complicates matters further. I shall not detain the House any longer, beyond saying that surely this is not the best time to make more students feel even more insecure.

6.47 p.m.

Baroness Park of Monmouth

My Lords, I strongly support the Motion before the House. There is even greater hardship among a significant group of students than before. My noble friend the Minister will quote the, I have to say, opaque and even somewhat misleading picture put forward on the basis of a sample of 1,264 younger students and 451 mature students by the RSL survey on student income and expenditure published in December. Less than 40 per cent. of the sample actually provided the details required.

The survey shows that those students who receive a proper family contribution and do not come from a poor background are not badly off. That is good. We are, however, concerned with the poor; those who have no family resources, who are on their own. I know, from my own Junior Common Room at Somerville, that for those who are living out, the rent, payable for 52 weeks in the year, absorbs the whole of the present maintenance grant. At an average of £45 per week—without counting heat and light—that rent is £2,340 in Oxford, against a basic grant of £2,265. Eighteen per cent. of undergraduates in their final year in college are having to work to earn money through the Christmas and Easter vacations, in some cases doing both a night and a day job. In the North-West, a quarter of students work in term simply to survive.

That is the most absurd and criminal waste of higher education. The effect on academic work can only be appalling. Can we afford that, as a country? Most of those poor undergraduates are forced—since they cannot conceivably live on the student loan alone, especially the lower sum available in the last year—also to borrow from banks. Few of them have overdrafts of less than £100; many may borrow up to £400. And, of course, they apply to the access funds—still insufficient —where the biggest grants are between £100 and £500. The last figure is an absolute maximum.

Students in the North-West, Liverpool, Lancaster and Manchester are in equally dire straits, though rents are lower. The maximum income available to them is £3,065, including an £800 student loan. But the University of Manchester estimates the actual cost of living to be £5,655. Graduates leave the university owing money, both to the loans scheme and to the banks. I wonder whether they, or indeed the Government, realise that by 1997 their compulsory monthly payment, spread over five years, is likely to be between £60 and £70?

For someone with a salary of 85 per cent. of, say, £14,000 or less who borrowed the full loan and who will presumably have take-home pay of about £700 to £750 per month, this will be just about 10 per cent. of that take-home pay. Medical students, repaying five years of loan over seven years, will have to face even more daunting figures. Already, to judge from the evidence given by the department and the loan company to the Public Accounts Committee, there are 2,400 defaulters, 842 cases have been transferred to litigation, and legal expenditure is about £23,000, or £27 a case, going up to £50. I find it ominous and difficult to understand that the company operates on the basis that, the legal expenditure is recoverable from the borrower. How is it possible to extract this from people who already cannot meet their debt? It is difficult to understand.

It is even more interesting that the chairman of the company, when the question of the costs being incurred by universities in administering the scheme came up —costs which are, at £7 per student, nearly double the sum paid to them by the student loan company of £4 —said that he had neither heard nor read of the statement made in this House on the 29th March last year that the Government were committed to meeting those costs. He went on to say that he, really did not feel that he could get involved in the discussions between the Earl of Caithness and the House of Lords". Fortunately, the department is clear that it is accountable to Parliament. It is less reassuring to learn that the accounting officers, in a memorandum to the Committee, would not wish to underwrite the extra costs incurred where less than efficient practices are adopted. The company, for its part, believed that processing a student's application takes only 12 minutes; so the institutions are really doing very well in terms of income. Presumably they think that each of these processes will be done consecutively. That would produce a very interesting situation. In fact, as one of the members of the Public Accounts Committee pointed out, the CVCP survey showed that the institutions are subsidising the scheme to the tune of £1.5 million, which could and should have been spent on education.

I have dwelt on all this because it is all part of the same climate of unreality that characterises many of the judgments made, in the best of faith, by the Government about student poverty and about market choices. They are proud, rightly, of the fact that there are more students wishing to enter higher education—that is good, although it has now been slowed down—and more students taking up the loans. As one member of the Public Accounts Committee said of the loan take-up, it has nothing to do with efficiency; it has to do with desperation.

I beg my noble friend the Minister to think long on this issue. The Government have created a future generation who will have a heavy load of debt. They will either default and become a living negative equity in society, or they will feel obliged, in order to pay, to enter as lucrative a job as possible as soon as possible. Where shall we then find our teachers, social workers, public servants, doctors and lawyers? I do not oppose loans, but I believe that the present system of repayment is likely to backfire. Moreover, for the next few years at least—for although I believe in the country's recovery, unemployment of graduates is still a serious problem —they may well have to take poorly paid jobs that will neither allow them to repay nor to use the education that they have had to the full. In any case, as I have said, I have grave fears about what the unremitting financial pressure and anxiety will have done to their academic progress. I believe the Government should also remember that students, their families and their teachers, all have votes.

Let me return to the survey which I quoted. What are we to make of a society in which, according to the survey, student expenditure on books is subsumed into a section on the tables which also includes equipment, stationery, photocopying, field trips and other course-associated travel, and which amounts annually to a princely sum on average of £230? The average course textbook costs £20, and as many as five may be needed in one term. Even bought secondhand, they will not be less than £5 each. Libraries are starved of funds and so it is not easy to count on access to library copies. In any case, there are many textbooks which are needed for regular reference and textual work.

The conclusion must be that students are not able, on such figures, to afford the most basic tools of their trade. The single most heavy item of expense and anxiety is housing, so far as students are concerned. In nearly every institution they must expect to pay rent in the private sector over a whole calendar year for at least one year of their course. Housing benefit is means tested and therefore will only be available to those in need. Students can no longer count on vacational work to repay overdrafts, still less to pay rent; and so they cannot help themselves as they once did. May I urge the Government to weigh things up and recognise that there is a positive financial advantage in restoring housing benefit, because it will free students to work as they should; it will ensure value for money from their university education and it will thus free them to work well? It will also, incidentally, be a most valuable contribution to the difficulties of postgraduate students.

It is difficult in any case to understand the reasoning which requires students to pay the community charge, which allows them to vote but excludes them absolutely from all benefits, even where the need is demonstrable and urgent. Perhaps I may ask my noble friend the Minister whether the new financial package for students will contain an element for VAT on fuel.

I reiterate once more that there is a real, demonstrable and urgent need for some relief to be given to those students whose parents, especially if unemployed themselves, cannot contribute to their maintenance and cannot afford to feed and house them during vacations if they are themselves on income support? Students themselves receive £500 less than they would if they were on income support. The best, the simplest and the fairest measure would be the restoration of housing benefit. I would also plead for the vacation hardship allowance to be given in extreme cases of need. Do not let us see good education wasted because the recipients are too busy working in bars and supermarkets to do the academic work they are there for to the highest standard which should be the norm. These students are our investment for the future. We have a national interest in freeing them to learn.

I have tried not to bombard this House or indeed my noble friend the Minister with statistics. I realise that she, and others, may accuse me of that heinous crime in the academic world: the anecdotal approach. I can only say that we are talking about young, vulnerable and valuable human beings known to many of us, and we all know too many who are in trouble. Let us listen to them and try to advance their needs.

6.57 p.m.

Lord Judd

My Lords, in view of—

Earl Russell

My Lords, I believe that my noble friend wishes to speak in the debate.

Baroness Williams of Crosby

My Lords, I apologise to the noble Lord. I shall detain the House for only a moment or two. There are one or two questions that I should like to ask the noble Baroness the Minister and I indicated through the usual channels that I might wish to speak in "the gap". I really want to follow very briefly the excellent speech made by the noble Baroness, Lady Park, and also that of my noble friend Lord Russell by asking just two or three very quick questions of the Minister before she responds to the debate.

The first question concerns consultation. It seems that the period of consultation in respect of these regulations was extremely short, and that most of those who expected to be consulted were unaware of the quite substantial changes being made in the regulations. My understanding is that the date by which consultations were concluded was well before it was realised that these substantial changes were going to be made. Perhaps the noble Baroness would be kind enough to say something about why there was not fuller consultation with those concerned, especially given the information that we have had in the debate already about the very considerable hardship faced by many students because of the very "bare bones" nature of the grant and loan provisions at the present time.

Secondly, I should like to ask whether I am correct in understanding that the group which has the heaviest involvement in loans is that of married, mature students with dependants. That group, as the noble Baroness, Lady Park, and my noble friend have pointed out, is particularly subject to the kinds of contingencies such as the loss of a job by a member of the family or some additional need by a dependant which puts them in a very grave position in terms of trying to continue with their courses. It is not economic for students to break out of courses because they cannot afford to maintain the cost of staying on them. I think that this is one area where I very much hope that the noble Baroness will look again at the problem.

Thirdly, the point was made by my noble friend that some kind of provision with regard to the heavy costs of housing, where the grant and loan provisions are unrealistic in terms of the cost of housing, particularly in the South of England, needs to be reconsidered in terms of the eligibility of students for housing benefit. My noble friend's proposal is eminently sensible. It allows for the fact that means will be tested before grants are made, on the same basis as for any other citizen.

Approximately one third of all students entering traditional universities, and a higher proportion of students entering establishments which have become universities, come from homes where it is highly unlikely that the parents will be able to help them. It is in the interests of this country that the talents of these young people should be allowed to be taken through the courses that will qualify them for professions to which they can make a major contribution.

My final question concerns the wider issue of the possibility of income contingent loans. I do not believe that the Government have thought through with any great care the switch that is now taking place from grants to loans. I do not want to detain the House by raising the principle, about which many of us would have a great deal to say. But the system applies in many other countries where there are extensive provisions for scholarships. For example, in many American private universities some 40 to 60 per cent. of all students have scholarships for part or all of their fees and outgoings —something that simply does not obtain in this country in the same way. We are therefore not for a moment comparing like with like. That means that in the period in which we make the changeover, whether or not we approve of it, some consideration of income contingent loans should be entered into.

Finally—I echo what was said by the noble Baroness, Lady Park, in this respect—where will we look for those who will go into public service, school teaching and many other professions which are relatively badly paid? All the pressure on them to repay loans is likely to mean that they will try to move into areas of relatively high pay at the earliest possible stage and that could have a serious effect on the quality of our public services.

7.2 p.m.

Lord Judd

My Lords, the whole House will agree that it is good that the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, was able to intervene in the gap. It was a characteristically cogent and pertinent intervention. I hope also that the Minister will be able to take seriously the points made both by the noble Baroness, Lady Park, and my noble friend Lady White; they speak with immense authority on this subject. In view of the professional work which I undertake in the sphere of higher education I should, at the outset, declare an interest.

We on these Labour Benches are at one with the noble Earl, Lord Russell, in his concern. But we go further in remaining totally opposed to the loan scheme altogether. As Bryan Davies, Labour's spokesperson on higher education, pointed out from the Front Bench in the other place last week when speaking against the regulations, we are dealing with appalling legislative proposals which will make life more difficult for students in higher education and which will reduce the opportunities for students to enter higher education. Bryan Davies described them as a response to the £50 billion public expenditure deficit and an attempt to restrict expansion which the Government have come to regard as out of control.

Those observations reflect more general acute anxiety in higher education circles at the wider implications of the Government's recent Autumn Statement. On 10th January, in a letter to governors—of which I am privileged to be one—the director of the LSE underlined that, universities will suffer a cumulative real terms cut in public resource per student of 10% by 1996/7, while they will also be made to bring to a halt by then the government's previous policy of expansion in full time home/EC undergraduate student numbers, on pain of as yet unspecified financial penalties". On 31st December, in its editorial, The Times Higher Education Supplement summed up the situation even more starkly. It said, The outlook for higher education in 1994 is bleak. For the first time in a decade cuts in real terms are being made in government money for universities. This contrasts with the squeeze of recent years when the total spend went up but slower than student numbers, producing cuts in per capita funding but overall growth. Now expansion is being brutally curtailed and hope, imagination and optimism blighted". On 30th November the chairman of the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals had already indicated his dismay. He said, The government is attempting to halt the expansion of higher education by making it financially unattractive to universities to recruit more students … Having stoked up the aspirations of young people, and encouraged them into further education, the government is now attempting to deny them the opportunity for which so many are clamouring". On the specific issue before us the 1988 White Paper —Top Up Loans for Students —was categorical. Paragraph 3.9 stated: The maximum grant and the average contribution will be maintained at the 1990–91 cash level". It was estimated that that meant the grant and loan would broadly equalise in the year 2007–08. And during the passage of the Education (Student Loans) Bill the Minister opposite herself said, The grant will be maintained in cash terms at its 1990–91 level".—(Official Report, 19/3/90; col. 57.) It is entirely understandable that, in exasperation, the National Union of Students recently said, In bringing forward the expected date when the grant and loan will be broadly equal by 10 years … the government have signalled an abandonment of a policy they were committed to only five years ago. Indeed, it must now be open to question whether a further commitment in the 1988 White Paper that 'The government does not propose to remove the existing maintenance grant' can now be relied upon". Let me emphasise that I am glad—and let me stress this—to acknowledge, indeed to commend, the expansion in the numbers enjoying higher education which we have seen over the past decade. We on this side want to see that trend continue. In a civilised society we believe that access to education and personal intellectual, cultural and academic fulfilment should be available throughout life. We also believe, as the National Commission on Education argued so well, that further and higher education are a critically important investment in the future of the United Kingdom. It is precisely because of the exhortations and past policies of the Government—so well expressed in their last election manifesto when they said, We will continue to expand the number of students in higher education"— that there is such widespread dismay at this crude reversal; this highly disruptive U-turn. Just less than a year ago the Minister said in this House, I believe that we have reason to be proud of this country's flexible and relatively generous student support arrangements. They are all of a piece with our wider achievements in higher education". What a contrast to the spirit of those words the realities of the Autumn Statement provided.

Let me anticipate the somewhat repetitive argument of the noble Baroness—we heard it last week on nursery education —that we must all face the fact that not everything can be afforded. First, if that is the case—and of course in a sense it is—the Government should be far more careful in their public pronouncements. The crisis of confidence in the political system is directly related to the repeated contradiction between the sales talk and the action of this administration. And it is a shame if that corrosive condition is now to affect higher education of which, I believe, those opposite potentially have a certain amount to be proud.

Secondly, if the past system of funding cannot be afforded —in itself a devastating commentary on the effectiveness of the simplistic market dogma to which we have all been subjected since 1979—the Minister and her colleagues must spell out, and fast, a clear alternative strategy. What is totally unacceptable is a regime of improvised financial tactics, the "go-stop" approach which plays havoc with long-term planning, sound development and effective use of resources, not to mention literally destroying dedicated academic and administrative staff and inflicting acute hardship on too many students.

We have it on the authority of the CBI itself, reported in this month's CBI News, that, The UK is on the verge of a funding crisis in higher education as a result of increases in demand". It goes on, Ways of raising this amount must be found if higher education is to expand without reducing the quality of provision". The CBI then suggests that there are four options. First, more government funding; secondly, a bigger contribution by employers; and, thirdly, action by the higher education institutions themselves. On that the CBI point out that the institutions have already achieved 5 per cent. so-called efficiency gains (whatever that means in the realms of quality and originality so essential to higher education) in each of the past five years, and to squeeze them yet further, the CBI argues, will still not produce the £1.5 billion needed to increase the percentage of young people entering higher education from 33 per cent. to 40 per cent. by the year 2000.

The fourth option offered by the CBI is the students themselves. In this last respect the CBI argues that students of higher education are estimated to earn between 6 per cent. and 25 per cent. more over their lifetimes than those who have not participated and that therefore it is reasonable that students should shoulder a larger share of their costs. The article examines several options for student contributions and highlights the Australian income tax related scheme which it claims has not deterred access.

Will the noble Baroness enlighten us today? Does she agree with the CBI on the developing crisis, or does she not? If she does, will she clarify whether or not the Government are prepared to extend their own financial support? If not, as sadly seems to be the case from the regulations before us, why not, and what is their real alternative strategy? Where do they stand on the CBI argument that there are really only four options'? Where does it leave their loan scheme? Which do they select, or indeed, which combination do they favour?

What worries us is the absence of strategy, the introduction of short term ad hocery while, as the leader of my party has put it: student loans policy is clearly failing and damaging students' ability to study in the process". He has rightly said: Students should not be forced to live in poverty whilst they are studying and then carry a heavy burden of debt with them for years afterwards". In July a survey by Barclays Bank demonstrated that already four out of every five students would end the academic year with an average debt of £1,672–22 per cent. more than the year before. Now we find the discredited loan scheme being accelerated; and against a background, as eloquently spelt out by the noble Earl, of the withdrawal of eligibility for income support, unemployment benefit and housing benefit. Quite uniquely, with the introduction of the new arrangements, the amount of loan available for students was to be assumed as income for social security purposes and for assessing entitlements to free NHS services, regardless of whether or not the loan was taken. It is incredible: students compelled to borrow to finance the welfare state! And what now of the additional burden of VAT on domestic fuel?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer has argued that the recent explosion in student numbers has revealed as ridiculous the fears that the student loan scheme might deter students from poorer families. But where is his evidence? The higher education expansion I have commended is made up of a higher proportion of women, part-timers, mature students and students from ethnic minorities. That is all excellent, but there is no indication that there is a significantly higher proportion of students from lower socio-economic groups. in 1991–92, 6,377 extra full time students were accepted into the old university sector from social classes I and II but only 1,406 from social classes IV and V. The Autumn Statement will not do anything to put that right.

Amidst the profound worries surrounding these regulations there is one which concerns a potentially sinister dimension —yet another step in the repealed and systematic onslaught on the quality of democracy. The noble Baroness, Lady Williams, referred to it in her intervention. Previously, the DFE has consulted interested bodies in the autumn on the awards package for the following year. Written comments arid proposals have been invited. There would then be meetings with organisations to discuss their submissions. The awards and loans regulations, for example, would then be drafted and laid before Parliament in the summer, to come into force in September. This year changed all that. In a letter dated 1st October 1993, to a number of interested bodies, the DFE. indicated some possible changes to the awards regulations on which it wished to consult—minor technical points on the whole—and stated that these were offered, entirely without comment on our part", and that, Ministers have not yet seen or considered it". The end date set for the consultation was 12th November. There was absolutely no indication of substantial changes to the regulations. Eighteen days later, a mere 12 working days, the 1994 regulations were laid before Parliament. Those announced far-reaching changes. How can this reassure us about the working of our democracy? It patently cannot.

As on recent education Bills, it makes a mockery of consultation. It underlines the arrogance of the Whitehall complex. It invites the question as to whether the regulations were not in fact prepared before 12th November. If not, there must have been an extraordinary rush, with no opportunity for further consultation. To take one very human example, students over 50 years of age are not eligible for loans. They have suffered a 10 per cent. cut in 1994–95 with no compensation. By 1996–97 the aggregate loss for them will be 27 per cent. of the 1990–91 grant level. With consultation, could not this anomaly have been avoided? I cannot believe that the Government would have resisted if it had come up in consultation. If the regulations are agreed by Parliament now there will be no opportunity for amendments until they are scrutinised again for the 1995–96 academic year.

This is a sorry story. The loan system was seen to be bad before it started. It has now been proved to be bad; and these regulations make bad worse. As the Times Higher Education Supplement put it in that powerful editorial of 31st December: For universities and colleges of higher education—those who study in them, work in them, manage them—the new year prospect could hardly be more depressing. Those who have invested time, enthusiasm and energy in attracting more students and adapting courses to new demands have every reason to feel snubbed. There has been much talk in recent years of low morale but much evidence of enthusiasm and commitment. Now morale really is at risk with those who have been most enthusiastic feeling most brassed off". The proposals by the noble Earl, although in all humility I suggest, as my noble friend argued, a little obscure in their technique, would at least for the time being ameliorate the damage.

7.16 p.m.

The Minister of State, Department for Education (Baroness Blatch)

My Lords, for a country that has the most generous support system for students and, indeed, now has allowed record numbers of students into higher education—certainly compared with 1979 when the ratio was a mere one in eight of the young population: the ratio is now one in three—this has been an extraordinary debate. The discussion has ranged quite widely around the area of student support.

It is this Government's firm belief that support for students should be channelled through the educational maintenance system and not through social security benefits. The benefits system exists to support those in involuntary difficulty—a description which does not apply to students who have made a conscious decision to follow a course of higher education.

Earl Russell

My Lords, is the noble Baroness telling me that students are never in involuntary difficulty?

Baroness Blatch

My Lords, I wonder whether the noble Earl could wait to hear out my speech. If I miss that point I shall either come back to it or write to the noble Earl.

That is a decision to invest in one's future, rather than enter employment straight away. Financial support for full-time students should come from the one source designed specifically to cater for such support.

The noble Earl, Lord Russell, suggests that students have faced hardship as a result of the withdrawal of the general entitlement to benefits in 1990. But the fact is that the introduction of the loans scheme in 1990 more than compensated the majority of students for any loss of benefits. The value of the grant and loan together is more than 40 per cent. higher in cash now than grant alone four years ago; and for 1994–95—under the regulations we are debating today—the main rates of support will rise by a further 4 per cent. Our student support system remains one of the most generous and most envied in the world. There should be no need for students to have to rely on social security benefits during the summer vacation.

Some have claimed that the level of student hardship is increasing. The reasons for this claim appear to be two-fold. On the one hand, it is suggested that the substitution of grant by loan has itself created hardship. But that clearly cannot be right: students do not have to pay a penny back until after they have left their courses and have a reasonable income.

On the other hand, it is suggested that the total value of student support has not kept pace with rising costs. But again, that simply is not true: since the introduction of the loans scheme the value of the grant plus loan package has more than kept place with inflation. Indeed, the recently published student income and expenditure survey—funded by my department and steered by a committee including representatives of the National Union of Students—found that total Government support had increased by about one-third in real terms compared to grant and benefits in 1988/89 where students took out a loan. By and large, the total income of a typical younger student had held steady since the last survey where loans were taken out. That some students chose not to take up all the resources which were available to them does not alter those facts. The money was available if they wanted and needed it.

Of course, certain groups of students are in a vulnerable position, financially. That is why we have allowed these groups—including disabled students and those with dependent children, as well as all part-time students—to retain their eligibility for housing benefit and income support on the same basis as before. Allowing these groups access to benefits reflects our recognition of the additional financial burdens they may face. Housing benefit and income support also remain payable to partners of full-time students, as do other social security benefits including council tax benefit and family credit.

Despite these generous provisions, there will of course always be a minority of students who get into financial difficulty. In such cases institutions can use the access funds to help. For 1994/95 we have increased the access funds by 10 per cent., bringing the total to some £21 million in England. That is a very substantial increase, as I am sure the House will recognise.

Some noble Lords criticised the student loans scheme. The fact is, whatever noble Lords opposite would like to have us believe, that the loans scheme is a success. A million loans have now been issued and this year we expect about half of all eligible students to take advantage of the scheme. The Student Loans Company, too, is working extremely effectively. Its unit costs—already low—are falling rapidly. Its collections performance must be the envy of many a commercial organisation—only 4.1 per cent. of borrowers are currently in default. The company's independent assessor did not receive a single customer complaint last year.

Some noble Lords criticised our decision to shift the balance between grant and loan. It has always been our intention to replace grants progressively with loans until the two elements are broadly equal in value. Our success in bringing down inflation means that we have now decided to accelerate that process. We shall reduce the level of the main rates of grant for the next three years and make corresponding increases in the loan rates. That should bring the two elements broadly into balance in 1996/97.

But that does not amount to a cut in student support: quite the opposite. The support available to students next year through the main rates of grant and loan will be 4 per cent. higher than this year. And the supplementary allowances payable to older students, disabled students and students with dependants will also be increased by 4 per cent. The average value of the loan facility will he increased by 44 per cent.

So long as they choose to take out the loan available, the money students receive will be at least the same in real terms next year as it is this year. As I have already mentioned, they need pay nothing back until after they have left their course and their income is higher than 85 per cent. of average earnings, currently around £14,000 a year. And we have undertaken to keep repayment terms under review to ensure that repayments for those earning over that amount are manageable.

What these new arrangements will do is share the balance of student support more fairly between taxpayers, parents, and graduates. It is graduates, after all, who are the main—though of course not the only—beneficiaries of higher education. There is a growing consensus that they should be expected to make a greater investment in their own future. The Government agree. My understanding is that there is a serious debate going on in the party of the noble Lord, Lord Judd, about just that issue.

Other noble Lords have claimed that the extension of the loans scheme would damage access to higher education, particularly for students from less well-off backgrounds. But that prediction clearly does not square with the experience of the past few years. Since the loans scheme was introduced in 1990 there has been a huge rise in the numbers entering higher education. The participation rate has risen by some 60 per cent. Last October over 30 per cent. of young people entered higher education for the first time. It has taken us just two years rather than the predicted seven virtually to reach the manifesto target of one-in-three participation rate. The student income and expenditure survey found that students entering higher education from less well-off backgrounds have shifted from being the minority in 1988 to being the majority now. That is hardly compatible with claims that the loans scheme deters access.

We on this side of the House are proud of the record of this administration. It is this administration which has enabled more people to go to university than ever before. It is this administration which has put in place an efficient, straightforward loans scheme to finance that expansion. And it is this administration which has ensured that our young people will continue to benefit from one of the most generous student support systems in the world.

I shall now touch on some of the individual points raised during the course of the debate. As I have said, the settlement for higher education—contrary to what the noble Lord, Lord Judd, said—provides for an increase of some £270 million in the available recurrent funding between 1993–94 and 1994–95. That is a rise of 6.7 per cent., or 2.6 per cent. in real terms.

The noble Lord, Lord Judd, was concerned about breaching commitments. As I have said, the loans White Paper of 1988 made it quite clear that the real value of maintenance grants and parental contributions would gradually be replaced by loan. But we have decided to accelerate that process which, because of our success at controlling inflation, would otherwise have been rather slow.

The noble Earl, Lord Russell, quoted my remarks from Hansard in 1990 when I said that the Government provide an adequate level of support for a student to be maintained without work during his or her course of study. That remains the case. If students freely choose to work during term time and/or the vacation, that must continue to be a matter for the individual student.

Much has been made of surveys. There has been the most expensive and reliable survey of its kind anywhere since the last expenditure survey of 1988–89. Average income from public funds, grants, loan, access funds and benefits, for those who took up student loans rose by 31 per cent. in real terms. The average income for all students from public funds showed a small, real terms increase even though less than half of all students took out a loan. If all students took out the loan, the survey says, the average real terms increase in support from public funds would have been 24 per cent. since 1988.

The average expenditure for students who took out a loan is higher than the last survey. Term time and vacation earnings remained broadly the same in real terms as in 1988–89. Borrowing from commercial sources and overdrafts increased by only 6 per cent. in real terms and withdrawals from savings declined by about 55 per cent. For mature students the average income from public funds varies widely according to circumstances; from about £3,000 for a married student with a partner in work to about £6,000 for a single parent. Single mature students spent about 31 per cent. of total expenditure on housing; 7 per cent. on food and 10 per cent. on entertainment. For the younger single student, housing accounts for 34 per cent. of total expenditure; entertainment, 15 per cent. and food about 14 per cent.

Mature students, too, are likely to be entitled to additional maintenance allowance such as the older students allowance, dependence allowance and the two homes grant. These have been uprated in line with inflation for 1994–95. Those who get into real difficulties can apply for help from the access funds. The noble Earl, Lord Russell, said that students were badly affected by the withdrawal of benefits. Again, changes to the benefits system as it applied to students, were not made in isolation. They coincided with the introduction of additional resources in the form of student loans and the access funds. As I have already said and made clear, the introduction of the loan scheme more than compensated most students for the loss of those benefits, but those in vulnerable groups retain their eligibility for benefits. I must advise the noble Earl that I am not aware of any public statement by the Minister of State in another place that student grants and loans are below social security benefit levels.

The noble Earl referred to a particular case and my noble friend Lord Lucas sympathised with it, as we all did. I am aware of the anomalous position of students who temporarily suspend their studies through ill health. I believe that the number of students in that category is quite small. Nevertheless, I understand that the Department of Social Security is considering the issue and is in consultation with my department. I shall, of course, keep the noble Earl informed. However, I am surprised that the noble Earl's institution did not resort to access funds to deal with the problem of that young student if the problem was temporary. I have already given the figures for access funds which I believe are quite impressive.

The noble Baroness, Lady White, was concerned about compensation for the introduction of VAT on fuel, as was my noble friend Lady Park of Monmouth. Many students live in halls of residence, where they should not be affected directly by the imposition of VAT on fuel. For those who are, the 4 per cent. increase in the main rates of grant and loan—which reflects the Government's forecast of how much the price of goods and services in the economy will rise in the 1994–95 financial year—should compensate them for any additional living costs, including increased fuel bills.

I believe it was the noble Baroness, Lady White, who asked me about the reduction in the numbers in higher education. The explanation is that because the population of young people is falling, maintaining participation means a small reduction in the number of new students admitted to higher education next year and the year after. However, the same proportion of young people as this year—and that is a record proportion— should find places in higher education. Overall, the Government's plans allow for an increase in student numbers of 90,000 or 10 per cent. between this financial year and 1996–97. That is a sizeable growth. To allow for the continued growth in numbers, public funding for higher education in England and Wales will increase by 6.7 per cent.

My noble friend Lady Park of Monmouth was also concerned about commercial debt. The student income survey showed that the amount of debt has not changed significantly. Indeed, there has been an insignificant increase ranging from £8 to £147 in students' interest-free overdrafts. That is not surprising. Student loans offer a good deal for those who wish to borrow, including generous deferment provisions. It makes no sense for students to borrow commercially with a requirement to pay the debt back quickly when they can borrow at very favourable rates without having even to consider paying back the loan until they are financially well placed to do so.

My noble friend Lady Park of Monmouth was also anxious about the size of debt faced by students. A number of noble Lords shared that concern. As I have made clear, the repayment terms for loans are extremely generous. Borrowers need not pay a penny back until their income reaches 85 per cent. of national average earnings. That is around £14,000 this year. For those whose income exceeds that threshold, repayments are spread over five years—or seven for those with longer degree courses. And loans are indexed to inflation, so borrowers repay in real terms only what they borrowed. The average level of repayment of somebody earning £14,000 or more is currently £11 a month. I cannot possibly regard that as onerous.

The Government have been accused of breaking their promise to meet institutions' administrative costs. Again, the Government gave an assurance that institutions' reasonable costs would be met. I see no evidence that reasonable costs are not being met. Setting the precise level of the fee is a matter for the Student Loans Company. However, certification is generally a quick and simple process. Of course, some cases require more consideration, but the company pays higher education institutions £4 for each correctly completed eligibility certificate. That should fully meet the costs of an efficient college, bearing in mind the increasing level of take-up.

Again, my noble friend Lady Park of Monmouth was concerned about the cost of accommodation. Of course, housing costs can vary considerably from one part of the country to another. The grant plus loan should be sufficient to cover those costs in the vast majority of cases. Where students do get into real difficulty—as they do—they can apply for help from the access funds, which are targeted on areas with the highest accommodation costs.

It is probably better to talk in weekly terms when considering the amount that students are receiving. If one talks in terms of 52 weeks in the year, a student in London living away from the parental home receives the equivalent of £75.67—that is for every single week in the year. If one talks about an average academic year having 38 weeks, that figure rises to £103.55. For other parts of the country, the comparable figures are £61.35 for all 52 weeks or £83.95 given an academic year of 38 weeks. For students living in the parental home, the amount is £48.65 per week for 52 weeks or £66.58 per week for the academic year.

My noble friend Lady Park of Monmouth was concerned about student hardship in the summer vacation. I understand that it is not true that the withdrawal of the vacation hardship allowance in 1991 subsequently contributed to student hardship in the summer vacation. That benefit was withdrawn because it was no longer needed. Very few students ever claimed the allowance before it was withdrawn and the Government's arrangements for student support made more resources available to compensate for the withdrawal of the benefit.

The noble Baroness, Lady Williams of Crosby, asked about consultation. Consultation on regulations is not a once-a-year exercise. My department receives suggestions from a wide range of sources on possible changes to the regulations all year round. They are considered on their merits. Invitations to comment on our proposals for change were sent to the National Union of Students, the bodies representing local authorities and the higher education sector on 1st October, eight full weeks before the new regulations were made. That should have given adequate time for any objections to be voiced. Responses were received before the regulations were made from all those who were invited to comment. Those comments were taken into account when drawing up the regulations.

Finally, the noble Baroness, Lady Williams, also asked about income-contingent repayments. Repayments are already income-contingent. As I said, borrowers pay nothing unless their incomes exceed 85 per cent. of national average earnings after they have left college. For those whose income is higher, the level of repayments should be manageable. We are not convinced of the merits of introducing a more finely tuned income-contingent scheme. Collecting repayments through the tax or national insurance system, as that would imply, would not be straightforward. In particular, it would pose real problems for employers in collecting and accounting for payments from graduate employees. I believe that the scheme's proponents have underestimated the difficulties of that system.

I think that on these occasions I tend to sound rather aggressive, but it is a subject that concerns Members on all sides of the House. The welfare of our students and their success in higher education is absolutely crucial not only to the well-being of those individuals, but also to the well-being, health and wealth of the nation as a whole. Therefore, this is a subject on which I hope that we shall continue to give air to a vigorous debate in this House. It is right that there should be downward pressure on the Government to make sure that all these issues are properly considered and that real concern is shown. I can give your Lordships an assurance tonight that my department takes this subject seriously. The regulations offer a new deal. They provide for the cost of student support to be shared more equitably between taxpayers, parents and graduates. The regulations are necessary. It is our view that they are generous and fair.

7.38 p.m.

Earl Russell

My Lords, I thank the noble Baroness for her concluding words. I can assure her that we shall debate this subject again. I know that she thinks that this package of student support is adequate. Therefore, I should like to ask her why everybody else who knows anything about this thinks otherwise. I know that we all make mistakes, but why does she think that we all make the same one?

The Minister made one technical point as regards which I have an answer. She asked about the Minister who said that student support was below social security levels. That was stated in a letter—no wonder she could not find it in the official record—from her right honourable friend, Mr. Nicholas Scott, on 20th April 1990. I have quoted it before and I shall probably quote it again. I hope that it will be recognised next time.

The Minister asked why one of my pupils had not gone to the access funds. I did not hear to which one she referred. In one case the access funds for the year were exhausted; in the other, she has, but accompanied by many other people, in equal or more probably more severe difficulties, of whom probably only 10 per cent. are likely to be helped. The access funds are disproportionate to the scale of the problem.

The Minister talked about the most generous system of support. If that is so, I have tried to explain that it is because we have a different system of education: we have a table d'hôte three-year degree; other people have an àa la carte education which can be taken over a much longer period. Unless the Minister means to concede an extra year on the degree course, it is necessary that our system should be more generous, because our system of education is different.

I know that the Minister also believes that the system of student support is more generous than it was before 1990. Again, I wonder whether she could consider why no one else with any experience of the change believes that. I think that she knows that everyone else believes that the RSL survey 1988–89, upon which she relied, grossly underestimated the amounts students were receiving from social security before the change. Since the Government knew that that was a matter of general criticism, I am rather surprised to hear RSL employed again.

I see why the Minister says that the benefits system is not the ideal system. But if there is not enough in the existing system one has to go somewhere. This is doing so much educational damage that it will end with our degrees not being recognised in other countries. Before, rather than after, we reach that point, I should like to ask the opinion of the House.

7.42 p.m.

On Question, Whether the Motion shall be agreed to? Their Lordships divided: Contents, 40; Not-Contents, 110.

Division No. 3
Airedale, L. Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Bath, M. Dormand of Easington, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L. Dunrossil, V.
Bonham-Carter, L. Elis-Thomas, L.
Falkland, V. Plant of Highfield, L.
Gallacher, L. Robson of Kiddington, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L. Rochester, L.
Grey, E. Russell, E. [Teller.]
Hamwee, B. Selkirk, E.
Harris of Greenwich, L. Shepherd, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B. [Teller] Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Hollick, L. Taylor of Gryfe, L.
Hughes, L. Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. Tordoff, L.
Judd, L. Whaddon, L.
Macaulay of Bragar, L. White, B.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. Wigoder, L.
Park of Monmouth, B. Williams of Crosby, B.
Perry of Walton, L. Williams of Elvel, L.
Pitt of Hampstead, L. Winchilsea and Nottingham, E.
Abinger, L. Cranborne, V.
Addison, V. Cross, V.
Arran, E. Cumberlege, B.
Astor, V. Dean of Harptree, L.
Barber, L. Denham, L.
Blatch, B. Denton of Wakefield, B.
Boardman, L. Dilhorne, V.
Borthwick, L. Dixon-Smith, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L. Dormer, L.
Bradford, E. Downshire, M.
Brookeborough, V. Elles, B.
Brougham and Vaux, L. Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Bruntisfield, L. Ferrers, E.
Butterworth, L. Fraser of Carmyllie, L.
Cadman, L. Geddes, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L. Gilmour of Craigmillar, L.
Campbell of Croy, L. Glenarthur, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B. Goold, L.
Chalker of Wallasey, B. Goschen, V.
Chesham, L. Gray of Contin, L.
Clanwilliam, E. Greenway, L.
Clark of Kempston, L. Haig, E.
Harmar-Nicholls, L. Norrie, L.
Harmsworth, L. Oxfuird, V.
Harvington, L. Parkinson, L.
Hayhoe, L. Peel, E.
Henley, L. Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Holderness, L. Prentice, L.
HolmPatrick, L. Reay, L.
Hood, V. Rees, L.
Howe, E. Renton, L.
Huntly, M. Rodger of Earlsferry, L.
Ironside, L. Rodney, L.
Jeffreys, L. St. Davids, V.
Johnston of Rockport, L. Seccombe, B.
Kimball, L. Selborne, E.
Lane of Horsell, L. Shannon, E.
Lauderdale, E. Sharples, B.
Lindsay, E. Skelmersdale, L.
Lindsey and Abingdon, E. Stewartby, L.
Long, V. Stodart of Leaston, L.
Lucas, L. Strange, B.
Lucas of Chilworth, L. Strathclyde, L.
Lyell, L. Strathmore and Kinghorne, E. [Teller.]
Macfarlane of Bearsden, L. Teynham, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L. Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Mackay of Clashfern, L. [Lord Chancellor.] Torrington, V.
Macleod of Borve, B. Trefgarne, L.
Mersey, V. Trumpington, B.
Middleton, L. Tugendhat, L.
Miller of Hendon, B. Ullswater, V. [Teller.]
Montgomery of Alamein, V. Vivian, L.
Mountevans, L. Wade of Chorlton, L.
Moyne, L. Whitelaw, V.
Munster, E. Wynford, L.

Resolved in the negative, and Motion disagreed to accordingly.

House adjourned at ten minutes before eight o'clock.