Wales Bill - Report (1st Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:45 pm on 14th December 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Randerson Baroness Randerson Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Transport) 5:45 pm, 14th December 2016

My Lords, I start by declaring an interest as a governor of Cardiff Metropolitan University. I echo other noble Lords by referring to Amendments 5 and 7; I am really pleased to see that the Government have clarified that they had no intention of changing the status of Welsh universities. It is a status that is rightly prized and valued, not least because it gives them charitable status, which is extremely important from the funding perspective.

Government Amendment 8 deals with the Open University, which the Minister referred to in his remarks. Does he believe that this clarification is adequate and fully addresses the concern of the Open University that it should be seen as operating equally in all four constituent countries? Obviously it would not be seen appropriately as a Welsh institution, but it does not want to be seen as an English institution. It wants to be seen as bestriding all the countries of the United Kingdom. It would therefore be helpful if the Minister could clarify that he believes those concerns are fully addressed.