§ Mr. Cranston
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on the latest university applications figures. 
§ Dr. Howells
The latest figures will be published tomorrow. I expect them to confirm that the gap between last year's and this year's applicant numbers has been narrowing and that the number of young home applicants is running above the 1997 level. This is a welcome sign that many prospective students and their parents now understand the fairness of our proposals.