HC Deb 02 July 1996 vol 280 c382W
Mr. Forman

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action he is taking in response to the conclusions of the joint Treasury and Department for Education and Employment study group examining the scope for the private finance initiative in higher education. [34354]

Mr. Jack

The higher education sector has a long and impressive history of entrepreneurial activity, with universities already having raised some £1.5 billion from commercial sources. There remains, however, considerable untapped potential for private finance initiative schemes.

The group to which my hon. Friend refers is one of two joint working groups with the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals and the Standing Committee of Principals. It was set up in February at their request by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Employment. Treasury officials attended the groups as observers. Like every year, and like other representations on public expenditure, the groups' reports will be taken into account in the review of the Government's expenditure plans in the 1996 public expenditure survey along with other relevant considerations.