HC Deb 14 March 1957 vol 566 cc206-8W
Mr. Pickthorn

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer to make a statement in regard to the amount of recurrent grant to be made available to the universities during the quinquennium 1957–62.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

The amount of annual grant to be made available for allocation by the University Grants Committee among the universities towards their recurrent expenditure is normally settled for periods of five years at a time, and I propose to follow this practice. The present settlement expires next July, and I have been considering recommendations made to me by that Committee for grants for the ensuing five years.

During the five years which are now ending, rising prices and wages have affected every branch of university expenditure, and though additional grants were made available to finance the review of academic salaries which took place in 1954, universities have had to meet other increases in costs without any other assistance. I am satisfied that some increase in grant is necessary to enable the universities to maintain the present level of activity.

When it comes to development, I have had to take account of two conflicting considerations. The first is the growing number of qualified applicants for admission to the universities, and the importance of their output of graduates at a time when the need for highly trained people in business, industry, administration, teaching and research is increasing and when the country's future requires us to keep in the forefront of scientific and technological development. The second is the financial and economic difficulties of the country which call for general restraint.

Taking these factors into account, the amounts which I propose to invite Parliament to vote for recurrent grant for the five university years beginning on the 1st August next are as follows:

1957–58 £30,600,000
1958–59 £32,300,000
1959–60 £34,350,000
1960–61 £36,750,000
1961–62 £39,500,000

These sums do not include provision for non-recurrent grants towards capital expenditure, and they take no account of the recently announced improvements in academic salaries.

An interim report by the University Grants Committee on university development during the years 1952 to 1956 is being published as a White Paper and is available in the Vote Office today.

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