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("(9A) In subsection (4)(a) "the specified rate for low interest loans" means the rate for the time being specified for the purposes of any exemption conferred by virtue of section 16(5)(b) of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 (exemption of certain consumer credit agreements by reference to the rate of the total charge for credit).").
66

Page 15, leave out lines 13 to 19.


67

After Clause 19, insert the following new clause--

Transfer or delegation of functions relating to student support

(".--(1) If the Secretary of State so determines, any function exercisable by him by virtue of regulations under section 19 shall, to such extent as is specified in his determination, be exercisable instead by such body as is so specified which is either--
(a) a local education authority for the purposes of the Education Act 1996 , or
(b) the governing body of an institution at which eligible students (within the meaning of such regulations) are attending courses.
(2) A body by whom any function is for the time being exercisable by virtue of subsection (1) shall comply with any directions given by the Secretary of State as to the exercise of that function.
(3) Where any function is so exercisable by a local education authority, the function shall be taken to be a function of that authority for the purposes of--
(a) section 101 of the Local Government Act 1972 (arrangements for discharge of functions by local authorities), and
(b) section 70 of the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 (contracting out of functions of local authorities).

23 Jun 1998 : Column 194

(4) The Secretary of State may make arrangements for any person or body specified in the arrangements to exercise on his behalf, to such extent as is so specified, any function exercisable by him by virtue of regulations under section 19 (including any such function in relation to appeals).
(5) Any arrangements made under subsection (4) shall not prevent the Secretary of State from exercising the function in question himself.
(6) The Secretary of State may make provision for enabling appeals--
(a) to be made with respect to such matters arising out of the exercise by any person or body of any function by virtue of subsection (1) or (4) as he may determine, and
(b) to be so made to a person or body appointed by him for the purpose.
(7) The Secretary of State may pay to any body or person by whom any function is exercisable by virtue of subsection (1) or (4)--
(a) such amounts as he considers appropriate for the purpose of meeting expenditure incurred or to be incurred by that body or person--
(i) in making grants or loans under section 19, or
(ii) by way of administrative expenses,
in, or in connection with, the exercise of that function;
(b) in a case where the function is exercisable by virtue of subsection (4), such remuneration as he may determine.
(8) Any payment under subsection (7)(a) may be made subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary of State may determine; and any such conditions may in particular--
(a) require the provision of returns or other information before any such payment is made;
(b) relate to the use of the amount paid or require the repayment in specified circumstances of all or part of the amount paid.
(9) The Secretary of State may pay to any person or body appointed by him under subsection (6) such remuneration or administrative expenses (or both) as he may determine.
(10) In relation to any function which, by virtue of subsection (1) or (4), is exercisable to a specified extent, references in any other provision of this section to the exercise of that function are accordingly to its exercise to that extent.").
68Insert the following new clause--
Supply of information in connection with student loans

(".--(1) This section applies to any information which is held--
(a) by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue, or
(b) by a person providing services to those Commissioners and in connection with the provision of those services.
(2) Information to which this section applies may be supplied to--
(a) the Secretary of State or the Department of Education for Northern Ireland,
(b) any person or body acting on behalf of the Secretary of State or that Department under the delegation of functions provisions, or
(c) any authority or governing body by whom any function of the Secretary of State or that Department is for the time being exercisable to any extent by virtue of the transfer of functions provisions,
for the purpose of enabling or assisting the recipient to exercise any function in connection with the operation of the student loans scheme.

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(3) Information supplied under subsection (2) shall not be supplied by the recipient to any other person or body unless it is supplied--
(a) to a person or body to whom it could be supplied under that subsection, or
(b) for the purposes of any civil or criminal proceedings arising out of the student loans scheme.
(4) Subsections (2) and (3) extend only to the supply of information by or under the authority of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue.
(5) This section does not limit the circumstances in which information may be supplied apart from this section.
(6) In this section--
(a) "the delegation of functions provisions" means section (Transfer or delegation of functions relating to student support)(4) of this Act or section 73ZA(3) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980;
(b) "the transfer of functions provisions" means section (Transfer or delegation of functions relating to student support)(1) of this Act or section 73ZA(1) of that Act; and
(c) "the student loans scheme" means the provisions of--
(i) regulations under section 19 of this Act so far as having effect in relation to loans under that section, or
(ii) regulations under section 73(f) of that Act made with respect to loans;
and in this subsection any reference to a provision of this Act includes a reference to any corresponding Northern Ireland legislation.").
69

Clause 20, page 15, leave out lines 20 to 23 and insert--


("(1) Regulations may make provision--
(a) for any function which is or may be conferred under or by virtue of a relevant enactment--
(i) to transfer to, or otherwise be exercisable by, the designated person or body, or
(ii) to be replaced by such function exercisable by the designated person or body as is specified in the regulations,
to such extent as is so specified;
(b) for any function exercisable by the designated person or body by virtue of paragraph (a)(i) to be exercisable in such modified form as is so specified;
(c) for the transfer to the designated person or body of rights or liabilities arising under or by virtue of any relevant enactment;
(d) for any such enactment to have effect with such modifications as are so specified;
(e) imposing on persons or bodies of any description so specified requirements with respect to the transfer and preservation of records.
(1A) In this section "the designated person or body" means the Secretary of State or such other person or body as may be designated for the purpose by regulations under this section.").
70Page 15, line 28, at end insert--
("so far as that enactment continues in force by virtue of any savings made, in connection with its repeal by this Act, by an order under section 32(4).").
71Page 15, leave out lines 29 to 40.

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Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 65 to 71.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendments Nos. 65 to 71.--(Baroness Blackstone.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.

COMMONS AMENDMENT

72

Clause 21, page 15, line 43, leave out ("Further and Higher Education Act 1992 ("the 1992 Act")") and insert ("1992 Act").

Baroness Blackstone: My Lords, I beg to move that the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 72. I shall speak also to Amendments Nos. 73 to 91, 119 to 122 and 146.

Amendments Nos. 72 to 91 and 146 relate to the English and Welsh provisions and Amendments Nos. 119 to 122 to the Scottish provisions. They clarify how the Secretary of State's reserve power to place conditions on grant in respect of the fees charged by further and higher education institutions would work in practice. They also respond to concerns expressed by Members of your Lordships' House when we considered Clause 21 earlier. But I should make clear from the outset that these amendments do not contain any changes in policy. They are all essentially technical changes aimed at improving the clarity of the provisions.

In our earlier debates, we discussed at length the principles behind Clause 21 and the parallel Scottish provisions in Clause 25. Let me remind the House that Clause 21 gives the Secretary of State power to require, as a condition of giving grant to the Higher Education Funding Councils for England and for Wales, that they should in turn impose a condition on the grant that they give to higher education institutions. A condition on grant given by a Higher Education Funding Council would require an institution to charge certain categories of students on particular courses fees at the level of the maximum grant available to them for the payment of fees. The categories of students are to be prescribed in regulations but must exclude students who are not connected with the UK or the EU or who are on part-time or postgraduate courses other than courses of initial teacher training. In prescribing the courses to which a condition may apply, the Secretary of State may not single out courses of initial teacher training by subject or other courses by area of study or research.

It is clear from this that initial teacher training courses are intended to be covered by the powers this clause gives the Secretary of State. But most of the funding for initial teacher training courses in England is provided by the Teacher Training Agency rather than by the Higher Education Funding Council. So the Secretary of State needs to be able to impose the same conditions upon the TTA as he can upon the higher education funding councils. Amendments Nos. 72, 74-78, 82, 86-88 will give him the necessary powers.

Amendments Nos. 73, 79, 80 and 84 are technical amendments that tie down the period for which a condition imposed on an institution should operate.

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Amendments Nos. 81 and 120 are also technical amendments which ensure that, like HE institutions, FE institutions may not be subject to conditions of grant which control the level of fees charged to overseas students. Amendments Nos. 91, 119, 121, 122 and 146 are minor technical drafting amendments. They have been made in the interests of clarity and consistency.

Amendment No. 85 does just that. It makes clear that, where one institution--let us call it the parent university--claims funding council grant in respect of certain students, then that institution retains a responsibility for the fees charged to those students by any other institution, such as a college, which partly or wholly provides the course for those students. But, in the event that the parent university claimed no HEFC or TTA funding for those students and the college relied wholly on private finance, then the parent university would have no such responsibility and no sanctions on its grant could apply.

Amendment No. 89 ensures that a publicly-funded institution cannot charge extra fees for awarding or accrediting any qualification to students, nor can an institution which provides some or part of the course. Amendment No. 90 thus ensures that universities and colleges can continue to provide field trips to students in future and can continue their current practice of charging for them.

All these amendments are intended to clarify the extent and exercise of the Secretary of State's power to impose conditions in relation to university and college fees. I commend them to the House.

Moved, That the House do agree with the Commons in their Amendment No. 72.--(Baroness Blackstone.)

On Question, Motion agreed to.


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