§ 54. Mr. Malcolm MacPherson
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, with reference to his statement of 20th February, 1958, when he announced a building programme for the universities for the years 1960 to 1963, related to an estimated rise of student numbers to 124,000 in the mid-1960s, with the possibility of a further increase of 10 per cent. in the second half of the decade, whether he will now consult with the University Grants Committee as to the desirability of relating the building programme to higher numbers than these.
The University Grants Committee last year made a full examination of this question in the light of the latest estimates of future numbers of 17 and 18 year olds in the schools and of other relevant factors. As a result they recommended strongly to me that they should be authorised to discuss with the universities an expansion of their capacity beyond the figure of 135,000 places which had already been agreed. They proposed to explore the possibility of providing an additional 35,000 to 40.000 by the late 1960s or early 1970s and to estimate the capital cost involved. I have authorised this action and I understand that discussions with the universities have already begun.