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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:00 pm on 25th January 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Garden of Frognal Baroness Garden of Frognal Deputy Chairman of Committees 6:00 pm, 25th January 2017

My Lords, I support the amendment. As the noble Baroness, Lady Wolf, said, the possible proliferation of new universities is likely to include a great many offering subjects such as business and management, and far fewer offering subjects such as civil engineering, artificial intelligence and modern languages—whereas it would make sense for any new provision to arise out of shortages in disciplines and skills within the UK.

Secondly, there are parts of the country that are ill served by further and higher education. I have noble friends from Berwick-upon-Tweed who often relay the lack of local provision for local people to study. This is a cause of unfairness, not only in the north-east but in other parts of the country which are also ill served. If new provision were being set up it would make a lot of sense to look geographically at the parts of the country where there is less provision for people to study. Surely it would be a helpful part of the duties of the Office for Students to ensure that new providers should be established only—or mainly, perhaps—where they meet needs both of location and of provision. The amendment therefore seems a helpful addition to the Bill.