My Lords, I endorse the remarks of the noble Lord, Lord Bassam, and my noble friend Lord Campbell of Pittenweem with regard to the devolution aspect of this matter.
I was somewhat nonplussed when I read the draft Explanatory Memorandum, which states:
“This entire instrument applies to England only … The instrument does not have any minor or consequential effects outside England.”
One needs only to read the letters to the UK Universities Minister from her counterparts in Scotland and Wales to realise that the implications for Scotland and Wales, and no doubt Northern Ireland, are far from minor. How does the Minister justify what is in the Explanatory Memorandum?
I have a series of questions. Do the Government believe that, post pandemic, the UK Government, in co-operation with the devolved Administrations, should develop policies that sustain the principle of student mobility across the UK? The number controls announced on
Does the Minister accept that Scottish universities will be disproportionately disadvantaged because the number to which the percentage is applied to control numbers is being applied to much lower actual numbers? Why are institutions in the devolved countries able to bid for only 50% of the additional places, with a more limited range of subjects? Given the concerns expressed by the noble Lord, Lord Reid of Cardowan, about the implications for the union, did the Minister for the Union express any view on these proposals and their formulation from the standpoint of wishing to strengthen the United Kingdom, or was Boris Johnson also duped into believing that the regulations applied to England only?