Despite the belief in some quarters that the result of the referendum has resulted in the business of Parliament grinding to a halt the reality is that business is very much proceeding as planned.
Yesterday, the following motion:
That this House supports the Government’s assessment in the 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review that the UK’s independent minimum credible nuclear deterrent, based on a Continuous at Sea Deterrence posture, will remain essential to the UK’s security today as it has for over 60 years, and for as long as the global security situation demands, to deter the most extreme threats to the UK’s national security and way of life and that of the UK’s allies; supports the decision to take the necessary steps required to maintain the current posture by replacing the current Vanguard Class submarines with four Successor submarines; recognises the importance of this programme to the UK’s defence industrial base and in supporting thousands of highly skilled engineering jobs; notes that the Government will continue to provide annual reports to Parliament on the programme; recognises that the UK remains committed to reducing its overall nuclear weapon stockpile by the mid-2020s; and supports the Government’s commitment to continue work towards a safer and more stable world, pressing for key steps towards multilateral disarmament.
was passed by 472 votes to 117 votes.
Today, the main business is the Second Reading of the Higher Education and Research Bill which will:
- make it easier for high-quality new providers and ‘challenger institutions’ to enter the sector and award degrees, giving students more choice and boosting competition to improve teaching quality,
- introduce a Teaching Excellence Framework, which will ensure universities focus on graduate employability and for the first time will link teaching funding to quality and not just quantity – a principle long-established for research funding,
- give students more ‘outcomes data’ so they can make informed course choices based on the employment rates of past graduates,
- establish the Office for Students (OfS) as the new regulator for higher education, with a duty to encourage competition and promote choice. The OfS will operate a risk-based approach to regulation to protect quality and focus attention where it is most needed
- combine research and innovation funding into a single, strategic body (UK Research & Innovation) while retaining the identities and separate budgets of Research Councils and Innovate UK.