HC Deb 23 April 1985 vol 77 cc726-7
2. Mr. Andrew F. Bennett

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the Jarratt report about efficiency in universities.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Peter Brooke)

Sir Alexander Jarratt's steering committee for efficiency studies in the universities, which was set up by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals, has produced recommendations which merit serious and early consideration by those to whom they are addressed. My right hon. Friend will be considering with the CVCP and the University Grants Committee how the report can best be pursued.

Mr. Bennett

Does the Minister not agree that the Jarratt report indicted the Government for the way in which they had imposed the 1981 cuts, which led not to greater efficiency within the universities, but to short-term inefficiency, and took the view that if the Government continue to insist that university resources should be cut by 1 or 2 per cent. each year the situation will become even worse? Was not the strongest recommendation of the report the suggestion that we should return to a quinquennial review system so that the universities could have a continual re-assessment of funding, on level terms at least?

Mr. Brooke

The Government accept that they must give the best possible indication of longer-term policies for higher education. However, the difficulties of providing precise funding indications are the same for higher education as for other public expenditure programmes. Planning requires the management of resources in circumstances of uncertainty. The Green Paper on higher education policy, which the Government hope to publish shortly, and the subsequent discussions, will help to set the scene for the development of higher education policy into the next decade.

Mr. Jim Callaghan

After the publication of the study of efficiency in the universities, is it the Minister's intention to produce a Green Paper on scientific research in the universities? If so, when does he propose to introduce it?

Mr. Brooke

The Green Paper which my right hon. Friend proposes to publish on higher education, which will be issued shortly, will certainly cover that subject.

Mr. Pawsey

How much funding is reaching the universities from industry? Is my hon. Friend aware of what has taken place at Warwick university, especially at the business school and the science park there? Does my hon. Friend appreciate how much funding is reaching our universities from private sources?

Mr. Brooke

I can give my hon. Friend the encouraging news that since 1979 contributions to universities from private sources of one sort or another have risen by 18 per cent. in real terms.

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