Clause 30 - General duties of relevant authority

Part of Higher Education Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 10:45 am on 4th March 2004.

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Photo of Tim Boswell Tim Boswell Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Minister (Constitutional Affairs) 10:45 am, 4th March 2004

Going back to the specific point that my hon. Friend rightly raised relating to the extension of the European Union, is it not the case that all 10 of the new entrant countries have national income levels that are less than 75 per cent. of the Community average? If it is a matter of taking an interest in access for the most disadvantaged students, a priori, one would expect that the universities would be under an obligation to admit more from such groups, bearing in mind that the basis of European legislation is that there should be no distinction between citizens of this country and applicants from other member states. In other words, if we are in the business of expanding access, does OFFA have to take an interest in European Union students and secure their best interests?