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Higher Education and Research Bill - Committee (6th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 5:00 pm on 25th January 2017.

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Photo of Lord Mackay of Clashfern Lord Mackay of Clashfern Conservative 5:00 pm, 25th January 2017

On the Minister’s last point about connected and unconnected fees, I understand that the Secretary of State has to be satisfied that the fees charged are proportionate. On the other hand, the Secretary of State is not obliged to consider whether they are connected in any way whatever with the provider. That is the problem. The Secretary of State’s power to monitor the fees depends on what the authority is for the fees being charged. Most of the illustrations that the Minister has given are connected in some way with the provider. For example, if it is a question of assembling data, the data will include those provided by the provider who is charged—so that is connected to the provider all right. It is perfectly reasonable to charge for overheads in relation to a function connected with a provider, but charging for those unconnected with a provider seems to open up a large and rather unspecific area.