My Lords, despite declaring an interest as a visiting professor at one university and as a former visiting fellow at another, I am delighted that the debate in this House has focused so much on further education. I agree that in some ways these are the most radical parts of the report. For me, the most shocking statement in the report is in the principles, which shows that even while access to university has increased dramatically,
“the total number of people involved in post-18 education has in fact declined”.
That is because of a decline in further education. I am in no doubt that this dreadful state of affairs is one of the key reasons behind our poor productivity as a nation. I encourage my noble friend to take back to the department, the Secretary of State and whoever will be our next leader that they should have the courage of their convictions and follow Philip Augar’s very sensible advice to shift public subsidy away from low-value degrees into high-quality technical education that will deliver much better economic growth, productivity and social mobility.