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Baroness Blackstone: Of course not. The grant that the noble Earl's institution receives would not be lower simply because there needed to be more provided from public funds to make up for the lower level of tuition fee income that the noble Earl's institution could obtain.
Baroness Blatch: I take it from that that the local authority would be the body to be compensated? Let us take a very simple example. If 50 per cent. of the students who come through my noble friend's university, which is university A, are students for whom the whole £1,000 is met by the local authority and 50 per cent. pay £1,000 and in university B all the students pay £1,000 themselves, with no call on local authority funds, will the local authority that has to meet 50 per cent. of the student's £1,000 be compensated for the extra amount of money it has to pay out to the university?
Baroness Blackstone: Yes, of course. Just as at present the local authority fee contribution to universities comes direct from the Department for Education and Employment, this will continue. No local education authority will be worse off as a result of having to make up the difference because the money
Perhaps I may raise another question. I have read so much background to the Bill from different sources--newspapers, media interviews and so forth--and also noted Kim Howells' point. He specifically spoke about the sum of money that would come in from tuition fees and broke it up into chunks, some of which would go into further education and some into higher education. That is not consistent with the answer given by the noble Baroness. There is confusion about whether this money will remain exclusively with higher education. I also read somewhere that it is merely a mechanism and that the £1,000 per student, in whatever mix, will go to the university but there will be a clawback. It will be taken back and reallocated centrally in the way that Kim Howells has set out in his reply. I do not know whether the noble Baroness will be able to enlighten the Committee. Can she confirm that there will not be a clawback and that the £1,000 will reside with the university or college where the student is taking up a place?
My next question is critical. Will there be any adjustment? We have been told that students who do not make the contribution this year will make a contribution to the university equal to 25 per cent. of the average cost of tuition across the country. Is that to be a 75-25 split between that which is met by the state, whether LEA or government, and that which is met by the student--which represents no extra money because it still makes up the whole cost of tuition fees--or will the Government continue to meet the equivalent of the 100 per cent. cost of tuition fees for all students? Will they contribute a further 25 per cent., which will constitute extra money that remains with the universities? It would be helpful to have an answer to that.
I shall seek to press this amendment at some stage. I know that it has a great deal of support. I shall check the technicalities and read what the noble Baroness said. This is probably the last word for tonight.
I should like to take this opportunity to apologise most profusely for espying strangers in the Chamber earlier. I understand that that was wholly against the rules of the House. I also apologise most profusely to the strangers whom I espied for any embarrassment that I may have caused them.
Page 18, line 17, after ("further") insert ("financial").
Page 18, line 33, leave out ("specified").
Page 18, line 34, after ("persons") insert ("prescribed by regulations").
Page 18, line 34, leave out ("any specified matters in connection with").
Page 18, line 35, leave out ("specified description") and insert ("description so prescribed").
Page 18, line 36, after ("may") insert (", in relation to any such class of persons attending courses of any such description,").
Page 18, line 37, at end insert--
("( ) No condition under subsection (3B) above shall apply in relation to any fees which are payable, in accordance with regulations under section 1 of the Education (Fees and Awards) Act 1983 (fees at universities and further education establishments), by students other than those falling within any class of persons prescribed by such regulations for the purposes of subsection (1) or (2) of that section (persons connected with the United Kingdom etc.).").
Page 18, line 41, after ("further") insert ("financial").
House adjourned at twenty minutes before one o'clock.
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