§ The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (Dr. Brian Mawhinney)
The Government will provide £72 million for the two universities and the Open University in 1986–87. Details of provision for 1987–88 are not yet available, but I will ensure that the University Grants Committee, in its advice to the Department of Education on the appropriate grant allocations to the two universities, will take account of the additional resources for universities recently announced by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science.
§ Mr. Bell
While the education community in Northern Ireland will welcome the Minister's £72 million forecast of expenditure, what is the Minister to make of the forecast that Queens university is to face cuts in recurrent resources over the next four years of about £5.2 million? Does he agree that the economic and industrial base of Northern Ireland is less than it is in Great Britain, and that research income is not likely to be forthcoming? If monetarism is as dead as a dodo on the mainland, why should it be flourishing in Northern Ireland?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
I can confirm that the grant to Queens university will increase by some 10 per cent. below the average uplift provided for the system over that period. I remind the hon. Gentleman that the university, as an autonomous institution, has to determine how to match its provision with the resources provided. The hon. Gentleman will be aware—and if not I can give him the information—of the steps that the university is taking to broaden its base as a United Kingdom university and to seek industrial funds to help its research programme.
§ Mr. Hume
As higher education in Northern Ireland has recently been reorganised and a new university campus established in Derry, does the Minister agree that it would be unfortunate and unfair if, at such an early stage, the new campus were subject to severe cuts which would hinder developments that have been guaranteed? Will he ensure that that does not happen?
§ Dr. Mawhinney
As I suspect that the hon. Gentleman knows, the increase for the University of Ulster for 1986–87 is 4.9 per cent., which is above the rate of inflation. In the period covered by the main question the increase for the University of Ulster will be 16 per cent. above the average.