HC Deb 25 June 1979 vol 969 c53W
Mr. Kershaw

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer what net financial gain in each year is received for the United Kingdom from the payments made by overseas students; and whether he will give an estimate of the long-term financial benefits received by the United Kingdom due to the contacts between former overseas students here and British industry.

Mr. Biffen

Overseas students pay fees which currently cover about 30 per cent. on average of the total cost of the tuition which they receive here. The balance of that cost is met from, public funds through a subsidy which will amount to approximately £130 million in the academic year 1978–79. The increase in overseas students' fees recently announced by my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science will reduce the subsidy by some £10 million next year.

Spending by overseas students while in the United Kingdom brings some gain to our balance of payments but is not in other respects a net benefit to our economy. The students themselves derive the benefit from the goods and services which they purchase here.

Some benefits are undoubtedly received by British industry from orders placed by those who formerly studied here but no precise estimate can be made of the value of such contacts. The Government will however continue to have regard to trade and foreign policy in determining the conditions to apply to overseas students.