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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:15 pm on 25th January 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Baroness Wolf of Dulwich Crossbench 6:15 pm, 25th January 2017

I thank the Minister. For part of the last five minutes I felt as though two different plays were going on in the Chamber, somehow scheduled on to the same stage. The issue is not, to repeat, whether there should be new providers. The amendment clearly supports that. The issue is whether without direct intervention activity we will get the degree and type of diversity that the country needs. I thank the noble and learned Lord, Lord Mackay, for his suggestion, which would at least place the importance of this firmly at the beginning of the Bill. I hope that we might pursue that. This is not about hoping or having faith that new little providers will do all these things. We know, factually, that they will not, just as we know factually from the whole history of apprenticeships that if you throw it open in the way that is proposed for higher education and just wait to see what people will get from the general fee regimes available, you will not get the expensive ones.

Of course I will withdraw the amendment for the moment, but I hope we can return to it. This is not necessarily about committees—I share noble Lords’ views about committees—but about making sure that there is a clear function and duty on the Secretary of State to address these issues. I would very much like to pursue the noble and learned Lord’s suggestion, and I hope we can return to that on Report. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 434ZA withdrawn.

Clause 73: Power to require application-to-acceptance information

Amendments 434A and 435 not moved.

Clause 73 agreed.

Clauses 74 to 78 agreed.

Clause 79: Other definitions