Amendment to the Motion

Part of Higher Education (Fee Limits and Student Support) (England) (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 - Motion to Approve – in the House of Lords at 4:33 pm on 2nd July 2020.

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Photo of Lord Singh of Wimbledon Lord Singh of Wimbledon Crossbench 4:33 pm, 2nd July 2020

My Lords, investment in education is essential for the future of our country. I fully understand the economic impact of Covid-19 on the national purse and the rationale of limiting the amount spent on student loans by limiting student numbers. However, the over-rigid application of the proposed caps could adversely affect those from deprived backgrounds trying to get a foot on the ladder to economic and social advancement. I believe that those in this category should be excluded from calculations on the proposed caps.

I am inclined to accept that the funding of English-domiciled students is not strictly a devolved matter. However, not having seen any figures on projected savings, I wonder whether it is really worth the upset, and the financial upset, caused.

There is a line in an English hymn that states:

“New occasions teach new duties; Time makes ancient good uncouth;

They must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast with Truth.”

The Covid pandemic is an opportunity to look again at our national priorities. While I would put health and social care near the top, should we really be cutting and cropping vital services such as education, while spending billions on battleships and the like to fight 19th and 20th-century wars?