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Westminster Weekly (13 - 17 March 2017)

Friday 17-03-2017 - 14:28

Your weekly round-up of NUS' work in parliament.



Westminster this week:


Brexit in Parliament

The European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill has been voted through parliament, and received Royal Assent on the 16th March. This means the Bill is now an Act of Parliament (law), and the Prime Minister has been given the power to trigger Article 50 and begin Brexit proceedings.


Higher Education and Research Bill

The Higher Education and Research Bill has continued through the House of Lords this week, with several significant amendments being voted through:

  • A cross-party amendment was debated on creating a statutory duty for the Government to encourage international students to attend UK universities and to not treat international students as ‘long term migrants’ for public policy purposes. The effect of this is to essentially require that international students are taken out of net migration statistics.

The debates also included discussion of amendments regarding student loan repayments and access to student finance for asylum seekers.

The Bill has now finished Report stage in the House of Lords and will return for its 3rd reading next week, before returning to the House of Commons for MPs to consider any amendments made by the Lords. You can read the debates so far here.


European Union students: House of Lords debate

On Wednesday, peers questioned the government on their plans to give guidance to EU students wishing to study in the UK on the costs of their studies and their eligibility to access student loans. You can read the debate here.



NUS in Parliament:


NUS was mentioned in the House of Lords during the Higher Education and Research Bill debate on Monday. Lord Watson of Invergowrie and Lord Young of Cookham both referred to NUS’s participation in a Government initiative to tackle essay mills at universities.

Rob Young, Vice President (Society and Citizenship) gave evidence to the APPG on Blood Donation’s inquiry into the criteria for blood donor eligibility. His comments explored the societal and structural barriers that exist in blood donation for men who sleep with men. The APPG’s inquiry is looking to feed into a wider official review into blood donor criteria.

Ongoing meetings have been happening with MPs regarding developments with the Higher Education and Research Bill.


What’s coming up?

 

  • The Higher Education and Research Bill will have its third reading in the House of Lords on Wednesday 22 March.
  • The Technical and Further Education Bill will enter Report stage in the House of Lords on Monday 27 March.
  • The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Students will meet on Tuesday 28 March to discuss the decline in part-time and mature student numbers.

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