asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to meet the University Grants Committee.
I have no plans at present to meet the full committee. My Department is in close and regular contact with the chairman of the committee and his officers.
Since those close contacts might presumably include discussion about the total grant made to universities, is it accurate to say that that is looked at relatively as a cash limit? Is there any element of inflation built into the 1980–81 grant?
Yes. I announced recently that the grant provision for 1980–81 would be £987 million. That is a cash limit. It takes account of assumed inflation, and is based on the assumption of roughly level fundings within the universities, and an equivalent number of entries into universities this year as last.
Considering the favourable response of the vice-chancellors committee to the Finniston committee's suggestion that we need a more practical base for our engineering courses, will the Government discuss with the University Grants Committee proposals to extend sandwich course learning?
The Department will be running a conference later this year and it will look at all the educational effects of the Finniston report. No doubt such matters will come up at that conference.