asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has completed his consultations on the proposed public lending right scheme.
Yes, and I hope to lay the revised scheme before the House soon.
Can my right hon. Friend inform the House when he feels that the scheme will be fully operational?
That is not yet absolutely clear. I should like the House to examine the scheme when I put it before hon. Members, I hope just before Christmas, or, if I am unlucky, very early in the new year. I hope that it will be generally welcome. Most of the points raised by interested parties have been met and I hope that hon. Members will support the scheme.
I do not wish to appear too antipathetic this afternoon, but does the right hon. Gentleman accept, that there have been years of delay during which we have been talking about implementation of the scheme? There is always another excuse for not introducing it. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the House—or the more cultured sections of it—is impatient to see the scheme? When can we see it? We want no more promises that are not kept.
With respect to the hon. Gentleman, his party was in power for a considerable time during this period.
We produced the White Paper.
We started the Bill. I am about to produce the scheme. We shall get it going. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will consult the Leader of the Opposition. I am doing him a good turn. We shall have it before the House at the earliest opportunity. I look forward to receiving his congratulations.