Select Committee on Education and Skills Sixth Report


PROCEEDINGS OF THE COMMITTEE RELATING TO THE REPORT

WEDNESDAY 3 JULY 2002

Members present:

Mr Barry Sheerman, in the Chair


Mr John BaronMs Meg Munn
Mr David ChaytorMr Kerry Pollard
Valerie DaveyJonathan Shaw
Jeff EnnisMr Mark Simmonds
Paul HolmesMr Andrew Turner

The Committee deliberated.

[Adjourned till to-morrow at half-past One o'clock.


THURSDAY 4 JULY 2002

Members present:

Mr Barry Sheerman, in the Chair


Mr John BaronMs Meg Munn
Mr David ChaytorJonathan Shaw
Valerie DaveyMr Mark Simmonds
Jeff EnnisMr Andrew Turner
Paul Holmes

Draft Report [Post-16 Student Support], proposed by the Chairman, brought up and read.

Ordered, That the Report be read a second time, paragraph by paragraph.

Paragraphs 1 to 32 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 33 read, amended, and agreed to.

Paragraphs 34 to 42 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 43 read as follows:

"To adopt the Scottish Executive's system of student finance in England would be extremely costly (the cost of abolishing fees alone was estimated to be £270 million in cash terms for 2002-03) and would divert resources away from other priority spending areas. We do not recommend the adoption of the Scottish system for England."

Motion made, to leave out paragraph 43 and insert the following new paragraph:

"We believe that the findings of the Cubie report and the system of student finance subsequently introduced by the Scottish Executive have much to commend them and are worthy of serious consideration in reviewing the system of student finance in England."—(Paul Holmes.)

Motion made, and Question put, That the new paragraph be read a second time.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 1Noes, 8
Paul HolmesMr John Baron
Mr David Chaytor
Valerie Davey
Jeff Ennis
Ms Meg Munn
Jonathan Shaw
Mr Mark Simmonds
Mr Andrew Turner


Paragraph 43 agreed to.

Paragraph 44 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 45 read as follows:

"In February 2002 Ms Jane Davidson AM, the Minister for Education and Lifelong Learning at the National Assembly for Wales, announced the introduction of means-tested grants for Welsh students in higher education, wherever they choose to study in the UK. Grants of up to £1,500 per year will be targeted at students from the poorest families. Tuition fees and the student loans system are to be retained. We were not persuaded to recommend the adoption of the Welsh approach for England."

An Amendment made.

Another Amendment proposed, in line 5, to leave out from the "word "We" to the end of the paragraph and insert the words "believe that the Rees Report and the system of student finance subsequently introduced by the National Assembly for Wales have much to commend them and are worthy of serious consideration in reviewing the system of student finance in England."—(Paul Holmes.)

Question put, That Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 1Noes, 8
Paul HolmesMr John Baron
Mr David Chaytor
Valerie Davey
Jeff Ennis
Ms Meg Munn
Jonathan Shaw
Mr Mark Simmonds
Mr Andrew Turner


Paragraph, as amended, agreed to.

Paragraph 46 read, amended, and agreed to.

Paragraphs 47 to 61 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 62 read as follows:

"We are satisfied that it is entirely appropriate for the individual beneficiaries of higher education to make a contribution towards its costs, and we are persuaded that tuition fees are an essential and progressive part of this process. We recommend that the Government should retain a system of contributions to the costs of tuition and that the Government should keep under continuous review not only whether the maximum means-tested contribution should be increased but also whether the thresholds for means-testing of contributions should be altered."

Amendment proposed, in line 1, to leave out from the word "We" to the end of the paragraph and insert the words "believe that a system of up front payment of any proportion of tuition fees is a counter productive deterrent to higher education, as evidenced in the Cubie and Rees Reports and by the sharp increase in the applications to Scottish universities since the abolition of tuition fees there."—(Paul Holmes.)

Question put, That the Amendment be made.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 1Noes, 8
Paul HolmesMr John Baron
Mr David Chaytor
Valerie Davey
Jeff Ennis
Ms Meg Munn
Jonathan Shaw
Mr Mark Simmonds
Mr Andrew Turner


Paragraph agreed to.

Paragraphs 63 to 67 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 68 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 69 to 100 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 101 read, amended and agreed to.

Paragraphs 102 to 114 read and agreed to.

Paragraph 115 read as follows:

"Much heat and little light has so far been shed on the top-up fees debate. There is a serious debate to be had on fees policy and the Government should not shrink from evaluating the costs and benefits of a differentiated fees strategy."

Motion made, to leave out paragraph 115 and insert the following new paragraph:

"The introduction of 'top-up' fees would be likely to exacerbate the existence of a clear two tier system of higher education with an 'Ivy League' of elite institutions drawing their students in increasing disproportion from higher socio-economic groups. This would run counter to the Government"s declarations of intent in terms of widening access to lower socio-economic groups."—(Paul Holmes.)

Motion made, and Question put, That the new paragraph be read a second time.

The Committee divided.


Ayes, 1Noes, 8
Paul HolmesMr John Baron
Mr David Chaytor
Valerie Davey
Jeff Ennis
Ms Meg Munn
Jonathan Shaw
Mr Mark Simmonds
Mr Andrew Turner


Paragraph 115 agreed to.

Paragraphs 116 to 127 read and agreed to.

Resolved, That the Report be the Sixth Report of the Committee to the House.

Ordered, That the Chairman do make the Report to the House.

Ordered, That the provisions of Standing Order No. 134 (Select committees (reports) be applied to the Report.

Several Memoranda were ordered to be appended to the Minutes of Evidence.

Ordered, That the Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence taken before the Committee be reported to the House.—(The Chairman.)

Several Memoranda were ordered to be reported to the House.


 
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