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Baroness Young: I thank my noble friend Lord Waddington, my noble friend Lady Rawlings and the noble Lord, Lord Beaumont, for their support.

As I indicated, I shall withdraw the amendment. I do not think that it is appropriately drafted. However, I was disappointed with the Minister's reply. She says in effect that only those who are formally resident in this country can have the home student fees. It is suggested that universities might be able to do something to help students from overseas. Of course, they can and they do. But let us picture a prospective student in St Helena or some small island in the Pacific who would like to come to the United Kingdom. The idea that he would be able to identify a university and then obtain a scholarship as a result appears to be most impractical. He may be lucky, and the governor or a friend may provide help. However, it is not a very practicable proposition. I am not sure what is meant by the argument that we cannot help those people because, by coming here, they would receive the benefits of the country. I suppose that we mean that they would be able to use the health service without paying tax. If I am wrong on that, I stand to be corrected.

Baroness Amos: Perhaps I make may a point regarding consistency which may help the noble Baroness. If I, as a British citizen, chose to live in another country, I would not have the same rights as I would have as a resident in the United Kingdom. I would give up those rights if I lived elsewhere. If I then returned to the United Kingdom, depending on the length of time that I had been away, I should have to requalify by making contributions and paying taxes in order to have the right to access benefits.

The noble Baroness's amendment would give people access to those benefits without a right of residence. That cannot be fair. We cannot say that the granting of British citizenship to people who currently reside in overseas territories will provide them with access to benefits which British citizens do not have until they qualify.

Lord Waddington: But surely there is a fallacy in the argument advanced by the noble Baroness. In the old days, despite the fact that overseas students were not residents, they benefited from the same fees as did people who were resident. Therefore, if we were to

24 Jul 2001 : Column 1886

grant to those British citizens the benefit which is sought by my noble friend, we should be returning to the situation which appertained in the 1970s.

Baroness Amos: That is not the case. The entire situation has changed, and it is not a matter of returning to a position that once existed. For example, on reaching university age, the children of a British citizen living abroad would have to return to this country and qualify in terms of a resident's qualification before gaining access to home fees. That is the current situation.

Lord Beaumont of Whitley: The analogy produced by the Minister is not a fair one. She is comparing citizens who voluntarily go abroad and who must return to this country in order to obtain entitlement with people who are born in, and are natives of, their own country. Such people are in a totally different situation because they have not chosen to be in that country; the situation has been thrust upon them.

Baroness Amos: Perhaps I may confirm that this legislation grants a right of abode as well as a right of citizenship.

Lord Waddington: I invite the noble Baroness to reconsider the matter. I may be hopelessly wrong, but I believed that all the controversy which occurred over the past few years arose from the fact that in the old days overseas students did not pay different fees for their time at university from people who were resident here. Therefore, we would be returning to the situation which used to appertain.

Baroness Young: I believe that there is concern in the Committee in relation to this matter, and I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Amos, will look at it again. The argument that is put forward is always one of consistency. It is a good administrative argument which aims to introduce tidiness.

Perhaps I may give an example of the type of situation to which I refer. Let us suppose that a young man or woman living in St Helena is clever and would like to qualify as a doctor. Today, that would be a very expensive proposition to undertake on home student fees, but it would be even more expensive on overseas student fees. The noble Baroness is saying, "All right, you can qualify as a doctor, but you must come and live in Britain". One may well argue that the doctor was needed most not in Britain--although I believe that we do need plenty of doctors--but in St Helena, to which the student would like to return.

Under those circumstances, in a country where there is no university and no prospect of qualifying for that type of job, is my proposition unreasonable? In any event, we cannot possibly be talking about an enormous number of cases or about vast sums of money. I forget the exact population of St Helena, but I believe that it is well under 10,000. Therefore, a very small number of people would be involved. However,

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we are saying that we shall deny to people in those places scattered around the world an opportunity to receive higher education.

This matter appears to be most important not only for the benefit of young people in the overseas territories but for anyone who cares about education and about helping people to climb the educational ladder, from wherever they may come. I recognise that my amendment is not correctly drafted, but I give notice now that I shall return to this matter at a later stage. In the meantime, I hope that the noble Baroness, Lady Amos, will consider what has been said this afternoon. I should be more than happy to talk to her further if there were a prospect of reaching an agreement whereby a measure such as this might be included in the Bill. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 6 [Repeals]:

On Question, Whether Clause 6 shall stand part of the Bill?

Lord Hylton: In the interval between this and the next stage of the Bill, will the Minister be good enough to consider the case of, say, an American or EU citizen who is resident in Great Britain and who, therefore, presumably is entitled to higher and further education at the lower rate? Is such a person not being preferred to British citizens who happen to live in an overseas territory? If that is the case, it appears to be a serious anomaly and is relevant to what has already been said.

Baroness Amos: Having listened to the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, I believe that what is being proposed is outside the scope of the legislation as it currently stands. However, I shall be happy to talk to the noble Lord about this matter after the conclusion of our Committee stage.

Clause 6 agreed to.

Clause 7 [Short title, commencement and extent]:

Baroness Rawlings moved Amendment No. 12:

    Page 3, line 14, at end insert--

"( ) The provisions of this Act shall not come into force, in a qualifying territory, until such a time as it has been ratified by that territory."

The noble Baroness said: In speaking to Amendment No. 12 I shall be brief. We shall be interested to learn whether the Government intend the Act to come into effect immediately the Secretary of State has made a commencement order or whether the Act will also need to be ratified by each territory. The need for the Act to be ratified by the territories would seem to be in keeping with the "partnership principle" that is so much a part of the thinking that lies behind the Bill. I beg to move.

Lord Redesdale: I have spoken to representatives from most of the dependent territories, who are very

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happy with the fact that the legislation will come before Parliament. I hope that the amendment is not intended to delay the implementation of the legislation.

Baroness Amos: British nationality is exclusively a matter for Parliament at Westminster; it is not for the overseas territories to ratify British legislation. From the date of Royal Assent the changes in nomenclature will automatically take effect. From the date of commencement of the provisions relating to citizens, British overseas territories citizens will automatically become British citizens.

I can confirm the point that was made by the noble Lord, Lord Redesdale, and that we have consulted widely. I am confident that the Bill will be widely welcomed in the overseas territories. On that basis, I ask the noble Baroness to withdraw her amendment.

Baroness Rawlings: Our aim is not, as I have said several times, to delay the Bill. We feel, however, that this matter is important in relation to self-determination, which the Minister has mentioned so many times. She gave an interesting answer but we feel that this is an important amendment, which should be included in the Bill. I wish to test the opinion of the Committee.

2.30 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 12) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 60; Not-Contents, 123.

Division No. 2


Aberdare, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Astor, V.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Belstead, L.
Blatch, B.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Bridgeman, V.
Burnham, L. [Teller]
Buscombe, B.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Colwyn, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Craig of Radley, L.
Dundee, E.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Ferrers, E.
Flather, B.
Fowler, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Glenarthur, L.
Glentoran, L.
Hanham, B.
Haslam, L.
Henley, L. [Teller]
Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, L.
Hogg, B.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kingsland, L.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lane of Horsell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
Marlesford, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Norton of Louth, L.
O'Cathain, B.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Perry of Southwark, B.
Plumb, L.
Rawlings, B.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Renton, L.
Rogan, L.
Seccombe, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Vivian, L.
Waddington, L.
Wilcox, B.
Willoughby de Broke, L.
Windlesham, L.
Young, B.


Addington, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B.
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Best, L.
Bhatia, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bradshaw, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Brookman, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L. [Teller]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craigavon, V.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dearing, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Eatwell, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Fyfe of Fairfield, L.
Gale, B.
Geraint, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Gilbert, L.
Goldsmith, L.
Gordon of Strathblane, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greaves, L.
Gregson, L.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Haskel, L.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Hooson, L.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Jones, L.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Lockwood, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
Mackenzie of Framwellgate, L.
Maddock, B.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Methuen, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Parekh, L.
Patel of Blackburn, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Redesdale, L. [Teller]
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L.
Rooker, L.
Russell, E.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Serota, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Simon, V.
Smith of Leigh, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Taylor of Blackburn, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Turner of Camden, B.
Uddin, B.
Walmsley, B.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Weatherill, L.
Whitaker, B.
Wilkins, B.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord Privy Seal)
Woolmer of Leeds, L.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

24 Jul 2001 : Column 1889

2.40 p.m.

Baroness Rawlings moved Amendment No. 13:

    Page 3, line 18, at end insert--

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