§ 12. Mrs. Anne Campbell
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what representations she has received regarding the planned funding of higher education in the period 1996–97 to 1998–99. 
§ Mrs. Campbell
Will the Minister comment on Cambridge university's decision to accept money from British American Tobacco in view of that company's falsification of data about the addictiveness of tobacco? Does the Minister think that it is desirable for higher education institutions to be pushed into a financial position so extreme that they must accept money from such sources?
§ Mr. Atkins
Is my hon. Friend aware that Lancashire county council has suggested that all funding for education, including higher education, is damaged by the area cost adjustment—which supposedly acts to the detriment of Lancashire and in favour of the south of England? Is my hon. Friend aware of any Labour-controlled council that benefits from ACA that would forgo it? Is he further aware that Labour Front Benchers do not have a policy on that matter?
§ Mr. Forth
I am not surprised by my right hon. Friend's last observation. We all eagerly await the emergence of Labour policy on the issue. My right hon. Friend makes a telling point. When we have a unanimous view from local authority organisations on the area cost adjustment, we will be prepared to consider it. I hear no unified voice from those bodies, but I await the day.
§ Mr. Sheerman
Surely the Minister is aware of the furore in the university sector in respect of higher education funding. Is not it the case, as vice-chancellors throughout the land are saying, that if the equipment used to teach postgraduate and other students of science and applied science is denied them, that will affect the quality of the degrees that are awarded? Ten per cent. of university income comes from overseas students. If standards fall—the Minister has seen the warning signs-higher education funding will be in dreadful trouble.
§ Mr. Forth
The hon. Gentleman used the word furore. Of the 140 higher education institutions, we have received between 50 and 100 letters. Of the country's 1.4 million students, we have received 200 to 300 letters, and from a total of 55,000 staff, we have been inundated with 200 to 300 letters. That gives some idea of the "furore".