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

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:30 pm on 25th January 2017.

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Photo of Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Lord Stevenson of Balmacara Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Culture, Media and Sport), Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Spokesperson (Education) 6:30 pm, 25th January 2017

My Lords, this amendment has wide support across the House, and I look forward to hearing the comments from others who have joined my noble friend Lord Dubs’s amendment. My noble friend apologises to the House for being unable to be present, but he has been asked to be the guest of honour at a Holocaust memorial service in Reading and felt that he could not stand up that occasion. I am sure the House will be sympathetic.

Very briefly, because I am sure others will make the point, the amendment deals with people who are in a bit of a lacuna as far as support for loans and maintenance is concerned. Currently, people with refugee status in the UK are classified as having home fee status for purposes of higher education as well as being able to access student finance. However, other potential university students who have either been given a different form of protection or who, after claiming asylum, have been granted a type of leave other than refugee status encounter restrictions and delays in accessing home fee status and student finance. Therefore, they face a barrier to education that is often insurmountable.

The amendment would rectify this arrangement so that all refugees resettled to the UK, as well as people seeking asylum granted forms of leave other than refugee status, can access student finance and home fees. I beg to move.