§ Mr. Bowis
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what arrangements he has made to prescribe expenditure under section 133 of the Education Reform Act 1988.
§ Mr. Alan Howarth
Section 133 of the Education Reform Act empowers the Polytechnics and Colleges Funding Council (PCFC) to make payments to any local education authority and the governing body of any institution designated under section 129 of the Act in respect of persons employed or formerly employed in the provision of further or higher education. These are payments to meet certain compensation and premature retirement liabilities. The terms of section 133, taken together with section 114 of the Education Act 1944, mean that regulations made by the Secretary of State need to be made to prescribe the classes or descriptions of such payments.
Payments totalling some £60 million, all for the purposes specified in section 133, were made by the PCFC 240W between April 1989 and September 1991 without appropriate regulations being in place. In order to provide for future payments, SI 1991/2307 was brought into force on 19 October 1991. Clause 63 of the Further and Higher Education Bill would regularise past payments.
The Government will also propose an amendment to the Bill during its passage through Parliament to regularise payments made by the PCFC to certain bodies other than local education authorities and governing bodies, and to provide for the proposed Higher Education Funding Council (England) to make similar payments.