Oxford University

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th February 1985.

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Photo of Mr Roy Galley Mr Roy Galley , Halifax 12:00 am, 19th February 1985

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has as to the total income, at 1985 prices, from grants and fees to Oxford university in 1979; and what it is estimated to be in the current year.

Photo of Mr Peter Brooke Mr Peter Brooke Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Education and Science)

The total income of Oxford university, from recurrent grant allocated by the University Grants Committee and from university tuition fees for home full-time students, increased in real terms from £46·2 million in the academic year 1979–80 to an estimated £46·9 million in the academic year 1984–85. These data are in 1983–84 cost terms. The figures are not strictly comparable because of certain changes in funding arrangements over the period.

Photo of Mr Roy Galley Mr Roy Galley , Halifax

Does my hon. Friend agree that those figures, and other comparative figures which are available, suggest a continuing preferential treatment for Oxford university? In view of the declining reputation of that university — [Interruption] — is he prepared to reconsider resource allocation in the higher education sector so as to give a better deal to modern and progressive universities in the north of England, such as Bradford and Salford?

Photo of Mr Peter Brooke Mr Peter Brooke Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Education and Science)

In an earlier answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway) I explained that the University of Oxford had done less well than the generality of universities. It is now nearly 50 years since we had a Cambridge man in Downing street. If the University of Oxford insists on committing hubris, we run the risk of being visited with the nemesis of another Cambridge man.

Photo of Mr Robert Hughes Mr Robert Hughes , Aberdeen North

Will the Minister accept that while we, at least at face value, accept his figures, some of us have had our faith in higher education restored by the Oxford decision, and in this case believe that it is money well spent?

Photo of Mr Peter Brooke Mr Peter Brooke Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Education and Science)

I see the rhythm of the questions running. The funding issues are complex. I regret sometimes that they are not quite as well understood in the University of Oxford as elsewhere.