My Lords, with two grandchildren completing courses at English universities but living in Scotland, I take a particularly personal interest in this issue. We have to look very carefully at the regulations, which give considerable power to the Government. I understand why they are being introduced; we are living, as so many people have said so often, in unprecedented times. In my 50 years in Parliament there has been no situation remotely like the present one. However, disasters can also bring opportunities, and I hope that over the next year there will be a complete determination to sustain our universities, which include some of the finest in the world. Some of them are quite new, such as Lincoln, where I sit on the court.
At the same time, the present situation should give us an opportunity to re-evaluate, reshape and define. We must get away from the mindset that says that young people who go to university are a success and those who do not have somehow failed. With vocational courses, apprenticeships and institutions such as the former polytechnics, we have to look at what we can do to try to ensure that each and every one of our young people leaving school goes to the right institution and studies the right course for him or her, so that afterwards that young person can play a full part in our society, a part that is underlined by the very concept of vocation, whether someone is studying a higher academic subject at university or is practising one of the crafts. There are great challenges before us and we must be very careful that we rise to them.