The Speaker
Wednesday, 17 July 2024 – 20:50

Universities Minister to be questioned by House of Commons Petitions Committee

The House of Commons Petitions Committee is to hold a virtual evidence session this afternoon to question the Minister for Universities, Michelle Donelan MP.

The session, which will be live on Parliament TV from 15:30 on Thursday, will focus on how the Coronavirus pandemic has and continues to impact the university sector and students.

University students have been heavily impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic, with many facing lost learning time, cancelled or online exams and issues with accommodation.

The latest evidence session comes as an unprecedented number of people continue to engage with Parliament and the Petitions Committee on the issue. More than 28,000 people have responded to a survey on the issue and tens of thousands have shared their views and concerns through social media. The engagement comes after more than 344,000 people signed a petition to reimburse all students of this year’s fees due to strikes and COVID-19.

The oral evidence session will be led by the Chair of the Petitions Committee, Catherine McKinnell MP, who said;

“This coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on young people and their education, life experiences and opportunities. The privileges that so many of us have had the fortune to enjoy are now being torn away from younger generations and there is now a growing call for the Government to do something about it. 

“The Government’s response so far has talked a lot about ‘recognising’ and ‘understanding’ the issues, yet there has been little detail of any real action being taken.

“As part of our ongoing inquiry into the Government’s response to coronavirus, the Petitions Committee will be asking the Minister for Universities what action they intend to take to limit the impact of the virus on students. The Government has taken exceptional action to support people and businesses whose income have been affected by coronavirus. We will be challenging the Government as to what action it should be taking to support students whose education has been impacted.

“The Petitions Committee is determined to continue to investigate the impact COVID-19 is having on all communities. As Members of Parliament, we will continue to collect evidence, press for answers, and scrutinise this Government’s response on behalf of petitioners as our country continues to fight this pandemic.”

The evidence session is due to take place between 15:30 and 16:30 on Thursday and will be broadcast live on Parliament TV and on Parliament’s YouTube channel.


Photo Credit: UK Parliament under licence (CC BY 3.0)

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