Friday 10-02-2017 - 12:24
Your weekly round-up of NUS' work in parliament.
Westminster this week:
The EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill:
Following the Bill’s first stage in the Commons last week, it swiftly concluded in the Commons this week – with ‘Committee stage’ on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and its final vote on Wednesday evening. The Bill passed without amendment by 494 votes to 122. You can find the full debates here.
Although no amendments were successfully made to the Bill, a number prompted heated debate: including on whether the Bill should explicitly state Parliament must vote on any final Brexit deal and on whether EU residents in the UK should have their rights guaranteed. However, with a Conservative rebellion against these amendments of only 7 MPs – offset by 6 Labour MPs voting against them – they were never near to passing.
Sale of part of the student loan book:
Universities Minister Jo Johnson announced on Monday that the Government is proceeding with the sale of student loans taken out by English students taken out between 2002 and 2006. The sale of the student loan book has been an ambition of the previous three Governments – Gordon Brown began the process, the Coalition Government nearly went through with it in 2013, and in last year’s Autumn Statement it was announced that the sale would happen in 2017. You can find the statement here.
Department for Education: Parliamentary questions:
Ministers from the Department for Education fielded questions from MPs this week. Amongst the questions, Rishi Sunak MP (Conservative) asked about the introduction of a UCAS-style system for apprenticeships; Alan Brown MP (SNP) asked about the reintroduction of the Post-Study Work Visa; and, Alex Chalk MP (Conservative) asked whether international students should be removed from net migration figures. The full session can be found here.
Housing White Paper:
This week, the Government launched its Housing White Paper, in an attempt to ensure that housing meets the country’s needs. The White Paper outlined plans to prompt greater levels of house building and reforms to give renters greater security; but commentators have said the White Paper falls far short of what’s needed. You can find the paper here.
NUS in Parliament:
NUS representatives attended an event in Parliament held by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Students. The event discussed careers information, advice and guidance and heard from Skills Minister Robert Halfon MP.
Private meetings were also held with MPs this week to discuss the FE application process, ensuring universities deliver value for money for students, and sex and relationships education.
What’s coming up?
- The Houses of Parliament are in recess next week.
- The House of Lords will begin debating the EU Bill on Monday 20 February
- The Technical and Further Education Bill will begin its Committee stage in the House of Lords on Wednesday 22 February