HC Deb 28 March 1977 vol 929 cc63-4W
Mr. Pavitt

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she is now able to announce the university grants for 1977–78 and later years.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

I am glad to be able to announce grants both for recurrent expenditure and for furniture and equipment. To help the UGC and the universities in their forward planning I consider it important, not only to announce the amount of recurrent grant for 1977–78, but also to give at the same time a provisional indication of the amount of recurrent grants for the following three years, on the same price basis as the grant for 1977–78. I must emphasise that these figures for later years should be regarded purely as a basis for planning. Like the figures in Cmnd. 6721, Part II, they do not represent firm commitments and are subject to revision. As they are revalued in successive years, a grant for the first year will be fixed in the form of a cash limit, while the other figures will remain provisional indications of grant.

The universities' recurrent grant for the academic year 1977–78 will be £562 million. This is a cash limit. Unlike previous years' grants, it includes local authority rates payable by universities. When account is taken of this, of the allowance made for pay and price increases, and of the increased income which it is expected that universities will receive from tuition fees, I estimate that the total recurrent resources available to the universities as a whole in 1977–78 will fall below the 1976–77 level by about 1 per cent. The provisional figures for the later years are:

£ million
1978–79 556
1979–80 564
1980–81 572

It has been necessary to assume for these years the same level of tuition fees, in real terms, as for 1977–78. This is because no decision has yet been taken on fee levels for 1978–79.

If the pace of pay and price increases generally, or of those which affect university expenditure, were substantially higher, taken as a whole, than those implied in the cash limit, the Government would be prepared to review the position in the light of all the circumstances of the time, including the economic consequences of higher inflation generally and the need to secure economic recovery.

Turning now to grants for furniture and equipment, the grant for 1977–78 will be £35.1 million. This is a cash limit. Provisional figures for later years, to be used as a basis for planning, and subject to revision in the same way as the figures of recurrent grant, are:

£ million
1978–79 39
1979–80 39
1980–81 42

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