I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Will he tell the House whether he is considering moving from a system of grants to one of loans, or whether he is considering top-up loans?
Is my hon. Friend aware that of the 67 per cent. of students who rely on a parental contribution, 73 per cent. find that their parents are unable or unwilling to top up their grants? Will he therefore consider introducing a loan scheme which will enable students to bridge the financial gap?
The number of working-class children who are coming forward properly qualified is too few. That is the real problem. There is no evidence that the present system has done much to advance the cause of bringing more working-class students into university education. Any loan scheme would, of course, have to meet the point that the right hon. Gentleman raises.
In putting any scheme before the House, will my hon. Friend be precise about the methods by which the loans would be recovered—by university or college, or nationally? Does he realise that many of us who are his friends are worried that he will erect such a bureaucracy that he will increase public expenditure and thus incur the Prime Minister's wrath?
Further to the Minister's earlier answer, might there not be a case for mandatory support before as well as after the age of 18 in order to increase the number of working-class entrants to universities and polytechnics? Is there any inducement to the working-class student, whose parents might be unemployed at the time of his application, to take up any loan scheme such as is now being proposed?