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 4:44 pm on 2nd July 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Lord Campbell of Pittenweem Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Defence) 4:44 pm, 2nd July 2020

My Lords, I declare an interest as the chancellor of St Andrews University, and I welcome the observations of the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, as he introduced his Motion.

These proposals essentially amount to the imposition of a penalty upon the devolved Administrations. We have heard that there was no consultation. Higher education is a devolved subject. Why were the devolved Administrations not consulted? Essentially, what is happening here is that Scottish institutions are being punished by having a penalty imposed upon them due to problems caused by the virus in England.

There is no evidence that Scottish universities have been making predatory offers. The majority of offers made by Scottish universities were in early April this year, and, as some noble Lords will understand, offers made constitute a contract between the university making the offer and the applicant accepting it; subject always, of course, to the applicant achieving the necessary qualifications. That, in particular, makes the proposals unfair to those students who have accepted offers after the cut-off date of 2 June.

Finally, on a more general point, it is the strongly held conviction among the universities in Scotland that using student loans to impose policy on the devolved Administrations in this form undermines necessary efforts to widen access.