HC Deb 25 October 1983 vol 47 cc136-7
17. Mr. Canavan

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many student places in higher and further education have been cut since May 1979.

Mr. Brooke

Between the academic years 1978–79 and 1982–83, total full-time home student numbers in universities in Great Britain and in non-university higher and further education in England have increased by 136,000.

There was a net fall of some 105,000 in the corresponding overall number of part-time students, partly as a result of changes in the pattern of demand for non-advanced further education courses.

Mr. Canavan

Further to the earlier allegation about ministerial lies, which some hon. Members seem to get off with more easily than others——

Mr. Speaker

Order. I could not hear that allegation and I should not like to hear it.

Mr. Skinner

We did.

Mr. Canavan

I did not make the allegation. I simply referred to the allegation that had been made. Is the Minister seriously denying that there are thousands of young people, who have recently left school with university entrance qualifications and are capable of benefiting from higher education, who are being denied a place in an institution of higher education, because the Government have abrogated their stated principle? Would the Minister really rather see those people languishing on the dole queue than benefiting from the opportunity of higher education, which is their right?

Mr. Brooke

It is an embarrassment for the Opposition that the number of full-time home students in higher education has increased by 51,000 since 1979.

Mr. Marlow

Will my hon. Friend explain why some adult students in full-time higher education receive full grants because their parents are not regarded as being able to make a parental contribution whereas other students, whose parents are deemed capable of making a parental contribution but cannot or will not, do not receive a full grant? Is that just? If it is not, what will my hon. Friend do about it?

Mr. Brooke

I can only give my hon. Friend the answer that I have given him before. Removing the parental contribution would cost £180 million a year. At the moment, that is not within our power.

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