HC Deb 25 January 1961 vol 633 cc31-2W
Mr. Hornby

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will now make a statement about further university expansion.

Mr. Selwyn Lloyd

My predecessor informed the House on 26th January, 1960, that he had authorised the University Grants Committee to discuss with the universities an expansion of their capacity beyond the figure of 135,000 places which had already been agreed, to explore with them the possibility of providing an additional 35–40,000 places and to estimate the cost involved.

Having considered a report from the Committee, I have now authorised them to increase the Government-financed university building programmes of starts in the calendar years 1962 and 1963 from the present figure of £15 million each year to £25 million each year—to which the substantial costs for equipment, fees and sites are additional. For the calendar years 1964 and 1965, I have authorised the Committee to invite the universities to make building plans on a basis of starts of £30 million in each year. The rate at which these plans can be carried out must depend on the general state of the national economy and on factors such as building costs. But I will say now that unless there is some major and unforeseen change of circumstances, the figure for starts ultimately authorised for 1964 and 1965 will not be less than £25 million a year and I hope that it will be up to £30 million each year.

This large addition to the resources made available to the universities should be of material help to them in their immediate practical task of accommodating the increased numbers of students who will be coming forward in the second half of this decade; and it will be compatible with further development after 1965 to expand the university population, should it be so decided, to about 170,000 by the early 1970s.