Education: Treating Students Fairly (Economic Affairs Committee Report) - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:23 pm on 16th January 2019.

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Photo of Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Lord Forsyth of Drumlean Chair, Economic Affairs Committee, Chair, Finance Bill Sub-Committee 6:23 pm, 16th January 2019

My Lords, shortly after the committee had concluded its report, the Prime Minister asked me to go to No. 10 to discuss it. In the waiting room the words that she spoke on the steps of No. 10 after she was elected, about a country that works for everyone, are framed on the wall. I said to her that this report goes absolutely with what she wanted to achieve, and she said that that was indeed the case. What an opportunity for any Secretary of State for Education who takes the trouble to read this debate: there is all this unanimity across the Chamber on what needs to be done, and the report sets it out. I am most grateful to my noble friend Lord Younger for his very courteous and constructive response.

I understand about the Augar review and the inability to respond, but Members will be aware that the Augar review is simply advisory. The decisions will be taken by the Department for Education, and any Secretary of State for Education has a huge opportunity—I very much look forward to seeing the response to the Augar review—in wasting not a minute more in making the changes necessary. For every month and year that goes by, another cohort loses out on opportunities to which we all agree it is entitled.

I thank everyone who has spoken in the debate—time has gone on so I shall not refer to anyone—and made a contribution. I thank my committee, and my noble friend Lady Harding for pointing out that I do not tell the committee what to do. It is a joy to chair this committee; it is always a joy to be surrounded by people who are better informed and brighter than you. This report was unanimous on a controversial area. The way forward is clear: I hope the Government will see the signposts and take that way.

Motion agreed.