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Simon Hughes: Will the right hon. Gentleman give way?

Alan Johnson: No, I am not giving way.

Another concern has been expressed about the effect of the package on modern universities. I hope that hon. Members have seen something today from what used to be called the Coalition of Modern Universities, but which has helpfully changed its name in the last week to Campaigning for Mainstream Universities. It says to all hon. Members:

this was issued yesterday.

Those are the very universities that Labour Members, quite understandably, have concerns about, and it is very significant that CMU has issued that quote today.

We now have a situation where a £2,700 grant is available from the Government. Significant grants are available from those universities that need to widen participation—they accept that they need to do so; there is no argument between those universities and us. The threshold for repayment will now increase from £10,000 to £15,000. As a result, with people's concern about debt—watching the debate, as we speak—graduates are paying back £8.60 a week if they are on £15,000 a year.

27 Jan 2004 : Column 270

When the proposal comes in, that drops to nothing. They pay nothing at £15,000 a year. Graduates on £18,000 a year, which is the average starting pay of a graduate, are currently paying £13.85. With our proposal, that drops to £5.19, immediately. That goes right up the scale to people who earn as much as £40,000 a year. It is not what people owe; it what they earn that determines their payment.

On the 25-year cap, my hon. Friend the Member for Croydon, Central (Geraint Davies) was right in pointing out that if, for whatever reason, someone joins the Church, works for a charity, or decides to become an MP—so never earns much money—and only earns the equivalent of £17,000 a year for their whole lifetime, they will only pay back a grand sum, loan plus fee, of £4,500.

Mr. Barnes: Could we be clear beyond peradventure that the change that I am seeking has not been accepted? Instead of the debt disappearing after 25 years, we should take it off the front end, so that there is a holiday from debt. That would affect perceptions considerably, and it would be an advance in the direction that many of us want to go.

Alan Johnson: I very much appreciate the fact that this is not the first time that my hon. Friend has raised that, and I sincerely hope that it will not be the last, because I should love to debate it in Committee.

Other issues have been raised about devolved Administrations. I just want to say that, with the anomalies that occur, it is very important to us that the cross-border situation that might arise with Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales is thought through considerably and that we discuss it at the JULC.—Joint Union Liaison Committee.

Mr. Jon Owen Jones: May I ask for my right hon. Friend's assurance that he will look carefully into the anomaly that will exist if the Welsh Assembly's policies go into place, whereby a Russell group university—Cardiff—will charge students who go there £6,000 less than any other Russell group institution, so there will be a flood of English students into Cardiff university?

Alan Johnson: I will examine my hon. Friend's point.

A major thrust of attacks—particularly by the right hon. Member for Richmond, Yorks—was that we have broken a manifesto commitment. My right hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Blunkett) was clear in the late 1990s in introducing legislation, and very clear about the definition of top-up fees—the Government place a charge and universities can top it up to whatever they like. We will never do that now. We will not legislate for that in the future.

Question put, That the Bill be now read a Second time:—

The House divided: Ayes 316, Noes 311.

Division No. 38
[6:59 pm


Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Ainsworth, Bob (Cov'try NE)
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, rh Donald (Swansea E)
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Bailey, Adrian
Baird, Vera
Banks, Tony
Barron, rh Kevin
Battle, John
Bayley, Hugh
Beard, Nigel
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blair, rh Tony
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blizzard, Bob
Blunkett, rh David
Boateng, rh Paul
Borrow, David
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradley, Peter (The Wrekin)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, rh Gordon (Dunfermline E)
Brown, rh Nicholas (Newcastle E Wallsend)
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Byers, rh Stephen
Caborn, rh Richard
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Chaytor, David
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Paul (Gillingham)
Clarke, rh Charles (Norwich S)
Clarke, rh Tom (Coatbridge & Chryston)
Clarke, Tony (Northampton S)
Clelland, David
Clwyd, Ann (Cynon V)
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Cook, Frank (Stockton N)
Cooper, Yvette
Corston, Jean
Cranston, Ross
Cummings, John
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Coventry S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs Claire
Darling, rh Alistair
David, Wayne
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Dismore, Andrew
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drown, Ms Julia
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fitzsimons, Mrs Lorna
Flint, Caroline
Follett, Barbara
Foster, rh Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foster, Michael Jabez (Hastings & Rye)
Foulkes, rh George
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
Gardiner, Barry
George, rh Bruce (Walsall S)
Gilroy, Linda
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Jane (Reading E)
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hall, Patrick (Bedford)
Hamilton, David (Midlothian)
Hamilton, Fabian (Leeds NE)
Hanson, David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heppell, John
Hesford, Stephen
Hewitt, rh Ms Patricia
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hodge, Margaret
Hood, Jimmy (Clydesdale)
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Howarth, rh Alan (Newport E)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Hutton, rh John
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jamieson, David
Johnson, Alan (Hull W)
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jowell, rh Tessa
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Kaufman, rh Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keen, Alan (Feltham)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kelly, Ruth (Bolton W)
Kemp, Fraser
Kennedy, Jane (Wavertree)
Khabra, Piara S.
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby)
King, Ms Oona (Bethnal Green & Bow)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, David
Lawrence, Mrs Jackie
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leslie, Christopher
Levitt, Tom (High Peak)
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Liddell, rh Mrs Helen
Linton, Martin
Love, Andrew
Lyons, John (Strathkelvin)
McAvoy, Thomas
McCabe, Stephen
McCartney, rh Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
MacDonald, Calum
MacDougall, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
Mackinlay, Andrew
McNulty, Tony
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Mahmood, Khalid
Mallaber, Judy
Mandelson, rh Peter
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, David (Glasgow Shettleston)
Martlew, Eric
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Milburn, rh Alan
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Moran, Margaret
Morley, Elliot
Morris, rh Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Mullin, Chris
Munn, Ms Meg
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, rh Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan (Wansdyke)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Brien, Mike (N Warks)
O'Hara, Edward
Olner, Bill
O'Neill, Martin
Organ, Diana
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Perham, Linda
Picking, Anne
Pickthall, Colin
Pike, Peter (Burnley)
Plaskitt, James
Pollard, Kerry
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pope, Greg (Hyndburn)
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prescott, rh John
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quin, rh Joyce
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Raynsford, rh Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Reid, rh Dr. John (Hamilton N & Bellshill)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Coventry NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Rooney, Terry
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Sawford, Phil
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simon, Siôn (B'ham Erdington)
Singh, Marsha
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Smith, Angela (Basildon)
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Finsbury)
Smith, Jacqui (Redditch)
Smith, John (Glamorgan)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh John
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, David (Inverness E & Lochaber)
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Straw, rh Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, rh Ann (Dewsbury)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Thomas, Gareth (Harrow W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vaz, Keith (Leicester E)
Walley, Ms Joan
Ward, Claire
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Wills, Michael
Wilson, Brian
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Woodward, Shaun
Woolas, Phil
Worthington, Tony
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Ayes:

Jim Fitzpatrick and
Joan Ryan


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Ancram, rh Michael
Arbuthnot, rh James
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Austin, John
Bacon, Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Barnes, Harry
Baron, John (Billericay)
Barrett, John
Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Beith, rh A. J.
Bellingham, Henry
Bennett, Andrew
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Berry, Roger
Best, Harold
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, rh Virginia (SW Surrey)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm
Burgon, Colin
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, Sir John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Campbell, Gregory (E Lond'y)
Campbell, rh Sir Menzies (NE Fife)
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Caton, Martin
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chidgey, David
Chope, Christopher
Clapham, Michael
Clappison, James
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clarke, rh Kenneth (Rushcliffe)
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Cohen, Harry
Collins, Tim
Colman, Tony
Connarty, Michael
Conway, Derek
Corbyn, Jeremy
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Cousins, Jim
Cran, James (Beverley)
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Curry, rh David
Dalyell, Tam
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham & Stamford)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dobbin, Jim (Heywood)
Dobson, rh Frank
Dodds, Nigel
Donaldson, Jeffrey M.
Dorrell, rh Stephen
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Duncan Smith, rh Iain
Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth
Etherington, Bill
Evans, Nigel
Ewing, Annabelle
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Farrelly, Paul
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Fisher, Mark
Flight, Howard
Flook, Adrian
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Forth, rh Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger (N Thanet)
Galloway, George
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Godsiff, Roger
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Grogan, John
Gummer, rh John
Hague, rh William
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Hoey, Kate (Vauxhall)
Hogg, rh Douglas
Holmes, Paul
Hopkins, Kelvin
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howard, rh Michael
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hume, John (Foyle)
Hunter, Andrew
Illsley, Eric
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Glenda (Hampstead & Highgate)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kilfoyle, Peter
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kirkwood, Sir Archy
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Loughton, Tim
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
McCafferty, Chris
McDonnell, John
McGrady, Eddie
McIntosh, Miss Anne
Mackay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
McLoughlin, Patrick
McNamara, Kevin
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Malins, Humfrey
Mallon, Seamus
Maples, John
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Mates, Michael
Maude, rh Francis
Mawhinney, rh Sir Brian
May, Mrs Theresa
Meacher, rh Michael
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moore, Michael
Morgan, Julie
Moss, Malcolm
Mudie, George
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Öpik, Lembit
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Owen, Albert
Page, Richard
Paice, James
Paisley, Rev. Ian
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, rh Michael
Prentice, Gordon (Pendle)
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Angus (Moray)
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robertson, Laurence (Tewk'b'ry)
Robinson, Mrs Iris (Strangford)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Salmond, Alex
Sanders, Adrian
Sayeed, Jonathan
Sedgemore, Brian
Selous, Andrew
Shephard, rh Mrs Gillian
Shepherd, Richard
Short, rh Clare
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe & Lunesdale)
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns & Kincardine)
Smyth, Rev. Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Spring, Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Steen, Anthony
Steinberg, Gerry
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Taylor, Dr. Richard (Wyre F)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Teather, Sarah
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thurso, John
Tonge, Dr. Jenny
Tredinnick, David
Trend, Michael
Trickett, Jon
Trimble, rh David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walter, Robert
Wareing, Robert N.
Waterson, Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Weir, Michael
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, rh Miss Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Wishart, Pete
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. David Wilshire and
Mr. Peter Luff

Question accordingly agreed to.

27 Jan 2004 : Column 275

Mr. Tim Yeo (South Suffolk) (Con): On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. After this utter humiliation for the Government, do you agree that it is completely wrong that a Bill that imposes higher charges on students attending English universities should be carried by this House only by using the votes of Scottish Members of Parliament, given that students attending universities in the constituents of those Scottish Members do not have pay those higher charges?

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