Higher Education and Research Bill

– in a Public Bill Committee at 12:00 am on 8th September 2016.

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[Mr David Hanson in the Chair]

Photo of Jo Johnson Jo Johnson Minister of State (Department for Education) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education) 11:30 am, 8th September 2016

I beg to move,

That, the Order of the Committee of 6 September be varied so that the following is added at the appropriate place in the table—

Date

Time

Witness

Thursday 8 September

Until no later than 12.45 pm

National Union of Students

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education

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.

Photo of Roberta Blackman-Woods Roberta Blackman-Woods Labour, City of Durham

I thank the Minister for responding positively to our request.

Photo of Paul Blomfield Paul Blomfield Labour, Sheffield Central

I also thank the Minister. This is an extremely positive step. I wondered, however, whether we could squeeze the session with the Minister, for whom I have high regard and with whom I am looking forward to having many debates, so that we could have more time with the NUS and the QAA.

Before the Minister responds, are there any other comments on the motion?

Photo of Carol Monaghan Carol Monaghan Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (Public Services and Education)

I echo the comments of the other Members and thank the Minister for making the time available.

Photo of Jo Johnson Jo Johnson Minister of State (Department for Education) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education)

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.

Question put and agreed to.