I beg to move,
That, the Order of the Committee of
Until no later than 12.45 pm
We considered the request of the Committee to make time within the period we had allocated to oral witnesses to hear from the National Union of Students and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, which is the quality body for the sector. That had been a subject of discussion between the usual channels over the course of the weeks leading up to the agreement of the programme motion on Monday, but in the light of views expressed about the importance of ensuring the broadest possible set of views being heard directly by the Committee, we are happy to make space in the schedule. We realise it is a brief period, but I believe we will be able to get to the substance of what they are trying to get across in the time we have made available to them in the programme motion as amended.
I have reduced the time that I had been allocated to give evidence to the Committee by 50%, going down to 15 minutes, and I feel it is important, before we get into the line-by-line, nitty gritty scrutiny of the Bill, that we have the opportunity as a Government to give an overview of what we are trying to do, the context for the Bill and the core measures that we propose to achieve those objectives. If we shorten the time much further, I am afraid we would lose the ability to give a coherent sense of what we are trying to do overall. I would prefer to be left with the 15 minutes to which I have already reduced my slot.