Opposers in final bid to alter bill

June 5, 1998

OPPOSITION parties are staging an eleventh-hour challenge to the government as the controversial Teaching and Higher Education Bill approaches its last Commons' hurdle.

Both the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have tabled amendments to the bill, which reaches report stage in the Commons on Monday. The bill is due for its third and final Commons' reading on Tuesday. It then goes back to the House of Lords. No Lords' dates have been set.

The opposition parties' amendments are, by and large, a repetition of earlier amendments, which the government defeated during the bill's committee stage.

The Conservatives are concentrating their fire on ring-fencing tuition fee income for universities. They will also try to overturn government plans to charge UK students from outside Scotland for their fourth year at a Scottish university while exempting Scots and other Europeans.

The Liberal Democrats want to retain grants and to extend grants and loans to cover part-time students.

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