HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 c193W
Geraldine Smith

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what plans he has to introduce golden hellos that write off tuition fees for graduates taking up public service careers in areas where there are shortages of personnel. [154108]

Alan Johnson

[holding answer 12 February 2004]: I stated in the House on 27 January that I was commissioning a report to examine the gateways into the professions. On 12 February I was pleased to inform the House that Sir Alan Langlands, Vice Chancellor of the University of Dundee has agreed to lead this work.

The report will examine how the public sector and the professions can sustain and improve recruitment opportunities for graduates, especially those who do not qualify for the full £3,000 support. Sir Alan will be reporting to us by mid-2005.

However, the Government is already spending in excess of £700 million to support the recruitment and retention of graduates into the public services, for example teachers, dentists and social workers. Part of Sir Alan's work will be to examine this current support and analyse its effectiveness. Additionally he will research current practice in the private sector with a view to determining how employers might respond in a variable fee environment.