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Post-18 Education and Funding Review

Oral Answers to Questions — Education – in the House of Commons on 11th March 2019.

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Photo of Ben Bradley Ben Bradley Conservative, Mansfield

What progress his Department has made on its review of post-18 education and funding.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education)

The Government’s post-18 review is making good progress. As part of the review, the independent panel chaired by Philip Augar has undertaken an extensive programme of stakeholder engagement and evidence-gathering with students, graduates, providers and employers, including a call for evidence that received more than 400 responses. They are producing a report that will form part of the wider post-18 review and this will be published shortly.

Photo of Ben Bradley Ben Bradley Conservative, Mansfield

I thank the Minister for that answer. There have been rumours in this place about the possibility of reduced or variable tuition fees forming part of the proposals from the Augar review. In my opinion that misses the point; it is actually the cost of living and maintenance rather than tuition that causes accessibility problems at universities. Can my hon. Friend assure me that the Government will properly consult the sector on any recommendations and seek to follow the evidence, rather than offering quick fixes and good headlines?

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education)

I agree that we want to maintain the financial stability of our world-class higher education and research sector. I congratulate many universities on their appearance in the QS World University Rankings last week. That is why, when the Government conclude the review, we will ensure that people from every background can progress and succeed in post-18 education to contribute to a strong knowledge economy and deliver the skills that we need.