asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he will make arrangements to provide special grants through the University Grants Committee to the Oxford and Cambridge colleges in lieu of rates.
I am not yet in a position to say.
Is the Minister in a position to say whether I am right in suspecting that he has no intention of fulfilling the expectations raised by the general secretary of his party last year that the grievances of Oxford and Cambridge ratepayers over colleges' rate relief would be removed by an Exchequer subsidy? If I am right, may I ask him to say so frankly now so that the city and college authorities can get together on an alternative solution?
No, the hon. Member would not be right on that assumption. All I was asked to say was whether special grants would be made through the University Grants Committee. Although I am more impressed than ever by the legitimate irritation of ratepayers of Oxford I am also more impressed than previously by the difficulty of persuading my colleagues of the kind of solution I should like to introduce.