I have received representations from some hon. Members and from about 25 medical students. I have explained that any further review of student grants must depend on the economic situation.
Does not my hon. Friend agree that the financial situation of medical students in relation to that of other students is in grave need of review, and will she accept from me, as one who has been through the mill, that one of the factors involved in ensuring a proper spread of recruitment of students to the medical school is essentially the availability of funds? Will she look into the problem sympathetically?
My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that we have already done so. Medical students have a 48-week term in most cases, and most university students have a 30-week term. The extra attendance allowance to medical students was increased by the whole of the Brown Panel's recommendation whereas the increase in grant for most university students went up by half the Brown recommendation. Also, the evidence which we have shows that medical students do not spend the whole of their additional grant for books, equipment and special clothing on these things.