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The Deputy Speaker: My Lords, the Question is, That Amendment No. 42 be agreed to? As many as are of that opinion will say "Content"; to the contrary "Not-Content". The "Not-Contents" have it.

Amendment negatived.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 43:

Page 14, line 7, after ("terms") insert--
("( ) the Secretary of State has first commissioned an independent review of the finances of students in higher education, including tuition fees, maintenance grants and student loans, and has published the findings,").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I beg to move.

7.39 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 43) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 66; Not-Contents, 96.

Division No. 5


Addington, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Baker of Dorking, L.
Bath and Wells, Bp.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Beloff, L.
Belstead, L.
Berners, B.
Blatch, B.
Burnham, L. [Teller.]
Butterfield, L.
Cadman, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Carnock, L.
Crickhowell, L.
De L'Isle, V.
Dholakia, L.
Dudley, E.
Falkland, V.
Geraint, L.
Goodhart, L.
Hampton, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hemphill, L.
Jacobs, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lewis of Newnham, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lyell, L.
Mackie of Benshie, L.
Maddock, B.
Marlesford, L.
Montrose, D.
Newby, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L. [Teller.]
Rawlings, B.
Razzall, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Rochester, L.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Russell, E.
Seccombe, B.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Southwell, Bp.
Stewartby, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thomson of Monifieth, L.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wakeham, L.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Warnock, B.
Weatherill, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Young, B.


Acton, L.
Amos, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Barnett, L.
Berkeley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burlison, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Chandos, V.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gallacher, L.
Gilbert, L.
Gladwin of Clee, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grantchester, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L.
Hattersley, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Howell, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Levy, L.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mallalieu, B.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nicol, B.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Smith of Gilmorehill, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Symons of Vernham Dean, B.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Varley, L.
Walker of Doncaster, L.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Weidenfeld, L.
Whaddon, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

10 Mar 1998 : Column 175

7.47 p.m.

[Amendment No. 44 not moved.]

Clause 18 [Imposition of conditions as to fees at further or higher education institutions]:

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 45:

Page 15, line 19, leave out ("respect of") and insert ("connection with").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendment No. 46 not moved.]

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendment No. 47:

Page 15, line 25, leave out ("respect of") and insert ("connection with").

On Question, amendment agreed to.

Baroness Perry of Southwark moved Amendment No. 48:

Page 16, line 7, at end insert ("to the extent that it is within the powers of the institution to control the level of such fees").

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I tabled similar amendments to Amendment No. 48 both in Committee and on Report and therefore the arguments have been very well aired. At Report stage the noble Lord,

10 Mar 1998 : Column 176

Lord Whitty, generously said that the Government understood the argument very well, but to my disappointment he said that it was their intention to bring forward an amendment in another place to deal with it.

For the benefit of the House, perhaps I may briefly recap what the amendment is intended to address. Clause 18 gives the Secretary of State power to require the funding council to sanction any university if either it or an institution connected with it charges fees which are more than the prescribed amount. This sanction can be the loss of some or all of the university's financial grant from the funding council.

In the case of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge that could mean that, if any one of their colleges in the future were to charge its students additional fees above the prescribed amount, the university and not the college would then be sanctioned. Oxford and Cambridge universities have no power over the financial affairs of any of their colleges, and the sanction would therefore be wholly unjust. This may seem like a technical detail, and it may well be that the Government and the department would like this issue simply to go away, but they cannot ignore the collegiate structure of Oxford and Cambridge.

The colleges of Oxford and Cambridge have served this nation well for many hundreds of years and I do not believe that it is the wish of this House to see damage done either to the collegiate structure of the universities of Oxford and Cambridge or to the universities themselves; nor do I believe that this House would wish to support legislation which would do injustice to the collegiate structure of the universities.

As I said, when I spoke to this point at Report stage I was very disappointed that the Government's response was that they would not bring an amendment to this House but would bring it to another place. I hoped very much that the Government would rethink. There has been considerable time since this point was first raised at Committee stage for the department to construct an amendment and bring it back to your Lordships' House. It would have been a courtesy to this House to have allowed the government's amendment to be seen and debated before the Bill went to another place. I am extremely disappointed that even after ample time we are not to be given the opportunity in this House to see what the Government intend.

I hope that noble Lords will feel able to support this amendment. It is a relatively simple one. It would be only a very few words and it would ensure that justice was done and that the collegiate structure of our two leading universities would be preserved. I beg to move.

Lord Butterfield: My Lords, I rise to support this amendment. I am speaking in order to protect the collegiate universities. In the past interest has been expressed in these matters. I have been Master of Downing College, Cambridge. I have been Vice-Chancellor of both the University of Nottingham and of Cambridge. So I hope that I am in a position to take a balanced view of collegiate universities.

10 Mar 1998 : Column 177

The first point I want to make is that the colleges of Oxford and Cambridge go back to the 13th century. University College, Oxford, is reputed to date from the days of King Alfred. It was certainly well established by 1249, as was Merton in 1264, and Peterhouse, following Merton's regulations, was founded in 1284. In those days, of course, the colleges were in fact boarding houses protecting the students from the wickedness in the town. Many of the students were quite young. There were locked gates and all the things that were cast out in the student revolution of the late 1960s and early 1970s.

The colleges saw it as part of their responsibility to educate their students. By that I mean to nourish them and bring them forward rather than to examine them, which was the university's function. The colleges were small. It is very important that we realise that they were small. We should not confuse being small with being necessarily elitist. How small they were was borne in on me most clearly when I found that the wall I climbed along to get back into Exeter College as an undergraduate was in fact the wall of the old city of Oxford. That was just a little way from the Turl, which can hardly be regarded as the centre of the city, which has grown so much since.

I believe that because the colleges are smaller institutions it is up to the university always to protect them. That is one reason why I am so much in favour of this amendment. The colleges were delighted when the book Small is Beautiful was published because they thought that it might apply to them. It indicated that the smaller institutions with fewer students were in a much better position to recognise the individuals in that institution, their aptitudes and abilities and to encourage them to follow their abilities. I was much helped myself by no fewer than four personal tutors, one of whom was a very brilliant neuro-physiologist.

One of the things that has always been said of colleges is that they try to ensure that the students are seen as being the same as the dons but younger, and the dons are seen as being the same as the students but older. I was astonished when, as a graduate student, I went back to Oxford and my former tutor, David Whitteridge, asked me a blunt question. He asked me whether he should apply for the chair of physiology in Edinburgh. That was rather like the head man of Rolls-Royce asking a young man off the floor what he should do about aeroplane engines. I urged him to go to Edinburgh on the grounds that if he went there they would notice that he was missing from Oxford and when the Oxford chair came up he would eventually get it, which I knew was his ambition. That is precisely what happened.

I want to make one or two strong points about the colleges and one-to-one teaching and supervision. I have knocked around a good deal in my life at different universities. I was at Hopkins as a medical student. I was astonished at how much weight that university in Maryland placed on the tutorial system at Oxford and Cambridge. I later went to Bristol. I was astonished to find there that people were very jealous of one's college associations. The same was true when I went to Guy's Hospital, where people coming from Oxford and

10 Mar 1998 : Column 178

Cambridge were recognised by the consultants as being very mature. They knew how to deal with the consultants. Other Guy's students treated the consultants with too much deference. Again at Nottingham, the original hope had been that the halls of residence would be similar to the Oxford colleges, but there was not the money to do it.

The college system is very interesting and attractive to overseas students. Therefore, the collegiate universities like Oxford, Cambridge and Durham, but particularly Oxford and Cambridge because of their age, have a great attraction to students from all over the world. That is what I have found. I also want to make the point that in the college system one is very conscious that students come first in almost everything that is done in the colleges. When the college council meets it looks at the college from the students' point of view.

I beg the Minister to bear in mind that my plea not to regard the colleges as elitist, but smaller institutions rather than necessarily elite, seems to have been borne out by what is happening. For example, Cambridge now has many mature students who would fit into the remarkable White Paper The Learning Age which was published by the department. I believe that the same may be said about the people who come into the university under the other influences like the University of the Third Age, which is very strong in Cambridge. We have a good deal of interaction with the Anglian University of Technology. I go to my drawing lessons there. So I am hoping that it will not be thought that the spirit within the colleges at Oxford and Cambridge, which have wonderful buildings which we all appreciate and which we fight to maintain, is necessarily elitist. Therefore, I am anxious that we have an amendment such as this with regard to ongoing collegiate university arrangements.

8 p.m.

Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn: My Lords, only gradually have the Government begun to see that in treating college fees exactly as if they were top-up fees, they have been behaving unreasonably in the course of this Bill. College fees already exist. They have existed for a very long time, and they exist by statute. None of the colleges wishes to charge fees in excess of reasonable levels. Those would be top-up fees, but top-up fees are not on the agenda.

At Report, the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, at last began to see the light. He said:

    "I recognise the problem. As the noble Lord, Lord Renfrew, said, we have looked at the wording, but we do not believe that any amendment should be made to this clause. Rather than amend subsection (4), we are prepared to look again at that part of subsection (8) which refers to fees payable to connected institutions with a view to bringing forward in another place an amendment clarifying that reference".--[Official Report, 2/3/98; col. 1045.]

From Second Reading when my noble friend Lady Perry spoke on this very issue, to Committee, to the Motion that the Report be now received (when I addressed the issue much to the dissatisfaction of at least one Member of your Lordships' House), to Report stage, we have been making this point. And what sort of answer is that in your Lordships' House that at Report

10 Mar 1998 : Column 179

stage, not Third Reading, the Government tell us that they will bring forward an amendment in another place? By definition, there are no full-time educationalists in that other place, but there are quite a few here, as we noted earlier, who would be in a good position to scrutinise such an amendment.

The amendment has to be rather complicated because it has to be oblique--because the Bill is altogether oblique about the Oxford and Cambridge colleges. My noble friend Lord Butterfield spoke with great eloquence about the underlying issues, so I shall not do so further. I simply say that this is a necessary amendment to allow the good relations between the colleges and the university (at both Oxford and Cambridge) to be maintained; otherwise there are dangerous areas of uncertainty in the Bill, as I believe the noble Lord, Lord Whitty, has already indicated, although he has not gone any way to producing a remedy. I support the amendment.

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