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Power to make alternative payments

Part of Higher Education and Research Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 3:45 pm on 13th October 2016.

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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) 3:45 pm, 13th October 2016

As I was going to say, our funding system for higher education has enabled us to put it on a sustainable financial footing and, in turn, lift the student number cap. If we moved back to the old way of funding universities through direct Government grants and the payment of tuition fees and maintenance grants, we would have to reimpose the student number cap, which would inevitably have an impact on widening participation. We have seen in Scotland how the alternative funding model that the Labour party wants to move us back to crimps social mobility. We see that in all the data from Scotland on widening participation and access. The hon. Lady needs only to look at the Scottish example to see how her policies would take us backwards on social mobility. She needs to look carefully at how the record participation of people from disadvantaged backgrounds under our funding system is driving social mobility and will continue to do so in the years ahead.