Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. MPs continue to debate Budget
  2. Efra and European Scrutiny Committees question ministers
  3. Peers question government ministers
  4. Then Lords look at Higher Education Bill

Live Reporting

By Kate Whannel and Esther Webber

All times stated are UK

Get involved

End of business in the Lords

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour withdraws its amendment and the Lords adjourns for the night. 

Peers return tomorrow for questions at 11am.

Government resists separate regulation of universities

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

For the government, Lord Young says it would be "unprecedented" for a sector to be taken out of the auspices of the Competition and Markets Authority.

Regulating higher education providers

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Stevenson
BBC

Labour's Lord Stevenson of Balmacara speaks on an amendment designed to transfer regulatory functions relating to higher education providers and students from Competition and Markets Authority to the Office for Students.

Crossbencher Baroness Deech says higher education is about "collaboration and scholarship" rather than competition. 

Consulting higher education staff

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour spokesman Lord Watson introduces an amendment requiring the Office for Students to consult higher education staff on certain issues. 

Government spokesman Lord Young says the bill already provides for this. 

Sharing university data

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Young
BBC

The Labour front bench offers support for Lord Lucas' ideas on sharing university data. 

Government spokesman Lord Young says while the government wants to encourage transparency the Office for Students will be limited to some extent by data protection rules. 

Call for more open data on universities

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lucas
BBC

Conservative Lord Lucas introduces an amendment that would enable the Office for Students to publish any information it holds as open data if it considers it to be in the public interest.

He says he wants to see "an attitude of openness" and a willingness to share data "promptly". 

Assurances offered on university search warrants

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Government spokesman Lord Young of Cookham assures peers that warrants would only be granted to enter universities in exceptional circumstances. 

"There are strong safeguards in place to ensure these powers are used rarely," he says.

Policing universities

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Graduates
BBC

Peers resume report-stage debate on the Higher Education and Research Bill, which aims to set up new universities and promote choice in the sector.  

The bill allows a justice of the peace to get a warrant to allow authorised persons to enter and search certain registered higher education providers' premises.

Labour introduces an specifying this should only take place where the suspected breach may constitute fraud, or concerns serious or wilful mismanagement of public funds.

Government spokesperson outlines trade efforts

UK exports debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Mobarik
BBC

Government spokesperson Baroness Mobarik says ministers are trying to increase the number of businesses fulfilling their export potential through a range of measures, including lending more support to UK Export Finance. 

She acknowledges the UK can always be more ambitious. 

Labour: UK is lagging behind on exports

UK exports debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Mendelsohn
BBC

Responding to the debate for Labour, Lord Mendelsohn says the UK "lags behind" on exports and "it is a matter of regret" that it was not prioritised in today's Budget. 

"Now is the time to make a significant change," he urges. 

Entrepreneur calls for support for female-led businesses

UK exports debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Lane-Fox
BBC

Crossbencher and entrepreneur Baroness Lane-Fox calls for more support for businesses led by women, calling it "low-hanging fruit". 

She challenges the government to include more women on its international trade missions.

Conservative peer criticises trade deficit

UK exports debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Conservative Lord Popat says the UK's trade deficit is one of the biggest problems facing us today. 

He says we need to be more "outward-looking" in order to take advantage of opportunities in emerging markets. 

Peer urges help for 'intangible' economy

UK exports debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Labour's Lord Haskel focuses his remarks on the "intangible parts of our economy - knowledge, branding, software, data".

He says "this is the way international business is going" and government needs to look at how to boost support for those areas.

'Renewed vigour' needed on exports, peer says

UK exports debate

House of Lords

Parliament

Waverley
BBC

Crossbencher Viscount Waverley opens his debate on increasing the UK's exports.

He advises that "we need to start a process now" of adjusting to Brexit. 

He calls for "renewed vigour" and "an increased emphasis on pulling together".

Commons adjourns

House of Commons

Parliament

House of Commons clock
HoC

And that wraps up business for the day.

MPs return tomorrow at 9:30am for questions to the Brexit Secretary David Davis.

Debate of the budget will resume in the afternoon.

Government defeated over university appeals process

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers vote 185 to 115 for crossbencher Lord Judge's amendment.

It would allow appeals against a decision by the Office for Students to revoke degree-awarding powers to be on the grounds that the decision was wrong rather than "unreasonable" as the bill currently states.    

20% of DWP space is under-occupied - Minister

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Work and Pensions Minister Caroline Nokes begins by arguing that reducing the amount of under-utilised space is "an excellent way" of ensuring value for money. 

She says that "increased use of online methods" in recent years has resulted in 20% of DWP space being under-occupied and "this is an opportunity to stop spending money on empty space".

She adds that this does "not mean a reduction to front line staff".

MPs begin debate on closure of Vinovium House

Adjournment debate

House of Commons

Parliament

The Budget debate is adjourned for the day - it will resume tomorrow after the Business Statement.

Labour's Helen Goodman now opens her adjournment debate on the "devastating impact" of the closure of Vinovium House.

Vinovium House is the place of work for 83 Child Support Agency staff.

Helen Goodman says it would be very difficult for the current staff to travel to other areas such as Newcastle or Sunderland.

Peers vote on university appeals process

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Judge does not accept the government's point and forces a vote on his amendment that would allow appeals against a decision by the Office for Students to revoke degree-awarding powers to be on the grounds that the decision was wrong rather than "unreasonable" as the bill currently states.  

Former judge labels university appeal plans 'batty'

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Crossbencher Lord Judge introduces an amendment that would allow appeals to the first-tier tribunal that a decision by the Office for Students to revoke degree-awarding powers shall be on the grounds that the decision was wrong – rather than that it was based on error of fact, wrong in law, or unreasonable as the bill currently states.

Lord Judge says proving something as unreasonable in law means having to show it's "batty".  

But government spokesman Lord Young of Cookham says this is the standard to which higher education institutions are held. 

'A lot of pain, very little gain'

Brexit debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Clive Betts
HoC

Labour MP and Communities Committee Chair Clive Betts expresses disappointment that the chancellor ruled out funding social care through a tax on people's estates when they die.

The reality, he says is that there is already an "arbitrary" tax on people's estate which depends on whether someone dies in residential care.

Concluding his speech Clive Betts recalls being told in 2010 that after five years of austerity "we will have a balanced budget."

Seven years later, he says, the chancellor is saying "five more years of austerity and we won't have a balanced budget".

"That is a lot of pain for very little gain," he says.

Is this the price of staying in the Union, asks SNP MP

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Gavin Newlands
HoC

SNP MP Gavin Newlands says the government's austerity policies have led to a big increase in inequality and child poverty.

"If this is price of staying in a dysfunctional union", he says, "I'm not buying and neither will Scotland."

BreakingPeers approve amendment 116A

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Division result announcement
HoL

Peers have approved Baroness Wolf of Dulwich's Amendment 116A to the Higher Education and Research Bill

Contents: 201

Not contents: 186

Majority: 15

Peers go to vote

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Baroness Wolf of Dulwich
HoL

Crossbench Peer Baroness Wolf of Dulwich has requested a vote on her amendment 116A to the Higher Education and Research Bill.

This would require that any new provider to have been established for a minimum of four years with validation arrangements, or for the proposed QAC (Quality Assessment Committee) to be assured that the provider can meet required standards, in order to be granted degree-awarding powers.

The result will come in shortly before 7pm. 

Exiting the single market is 'only show in town'

Brexit debate

House of Commons

Parliament

David Lamy
HoC

Exiting the single market is the only show in town says Labour's David Lammy.

"Everything else is window dressing."

He argues that jobs, wages, investment, growth are all "vulnerable" to Brexit and the "leap into the great unknown" outside of the single market.

The government has not grasped this, he says.

What would Maggie think?

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Chris Evans
HoC

The party "that worships at the altar of the daughter of a greengrocer" has put national insurance up by 11% says Labour's Chris Evans

"What would she say?" 

She would have not endorsed the tax on small business people, he says.

Too difficult to move universities, says Lib Dem peer

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Willis of Knaresborough
HoL

Lord Willis of Knaresborough is speaking for his amendment to the Higher Education and Research Bill.

He doesn't like that the current Higher Education system does not work well for people who wish to take a break from study or move to a new degree or university. 

He wants a system whereby "students know that they can actually transfer somewhere else if they're not succeeding, or if they drop out, they can either return or in fact return somewhere else if they need to".

Fellow Lib Dem Baroness Garden of Frognall agrees, "with different and varied providers, this will be even less straight forward".

Rethink NI changes says Conservative MP

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Tom Tugendhat
HoC

Conservative MP Tom Tugendhat describes changes in national insurance as "concerning".

He acknowledges that the numbers are "minor" but suggests the tone is "not entirely helpful" and urges a rethink.

The government should be careful not to discourage innovation and entrepreneurism he warns.

Hanson: New money for wales will not go to grammar schools

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

In his statement the Chancellor announced £200m for the Welsh government.

That money is welcome says Labour's David Hanson.

However he adds that none of that money will go towards new grammar schools.

He says that instead the Labour government in Wales will invest "in every pupil not just those that happened to pass an exam at the age of 11".

Technical education 'should start earlier'

Budget debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Lucy Frazer
HoC

The chancellor today announced the introduction of "T-Levels", which he said would put technical education on an equal footing with academic subjects.

Conservative Lucy Frazer welcomes the change but says he should be "more ambitious".

She argues that parity of esteem between technical and academic subjects should start at primary school.

Labour MP offers a National Insurance 'lifeline'

Budget Debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Helen Goodman
HoC

Labour's Helen Goodman says that Brexit has damaged investment but not consumption.

This won't continue, she warns, predicting that inflation rises will put a squeeze on real incomes.

On National Insurance, she offers "a lifeline" to "the embattled Treasury team".

She says it is reasonable "on equity grounds" to even up the tax paid by the self-employed with the rest of the working population.

However she suggests the Treasury should also look at the fact that tax for the self-employed kicks in at £8,000 - below the amount applied to others. 

BreakingGovernment defeated on plans to rate universities

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Peers vote 280 to 186 in favour of Labour peer Lord Blunkett's amendment to scrap university rating plans and introduce a more general information scheme. 

Peers voting on plans to rate universities

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

A division is forced on Labour former education secretary Lord Blunkett's amendment, which would get rid of ratings in favour of a scheme to provide information about the quality of higher education.

This bill gives the Office for Students power to make arrangements for a scheme to give ratings to English higher education providers.

Chancellor has increased tax on 'the most hard pressed people'

Budget Debate

House of Commons

Parliament

Alistair Carmichael
HoC

Budgets that are welcome on Wednesday are often damned by Sunday, begins Lib Dem Alistair Carmichael.

However he says that whatever happens, this one is unlikely to be described as exciting. 

He expresses disappointment that there was no reference to Brexit or climate change.

Concerning the national insurance changes, he says the Chancellor should have tackled abuse of self employment by companies in such as Uber. 

Instead, he accuses the Chancellor of increasing tax on "the most hard press people".

Government insists it is not 'complacent' on university ratings

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Younger
BBC

Education Minister Viscount Younger of Leckie acknowledges concern over gold, silver and bronze university ratings, but points to promises from his colleague, minister Jo Johnson, to widen the relevant pilot scheme. 

"Receiving a bronze award is not a badge of failure," he tells peers, but the government is not "complacent" about the situation of institutions which receive it. 

He offers a further concession, outlining a lower rating below bronze.

Labour urges rethink of university ratings

Higher Education and Research Bill

House of Lords

Parliament

Lord Watson
BBC

Labour's education spokesman Lord Watson of Invergowrie asserts "the future of higher education in this country depends on the government rethinking the ranking system". 

This bill gives the Office for Students power to make arrangements for a scheme to give ratings to English higher education providers.

The OfS will be able to use this power to run the Teaching Excellence Framework, which will assess higher education providers according to the quality of the teaching that they provide.

Budget 2017 Reality Check: Do National Insurance changes break pledge?

8 March 2017

Reality Check

Conservative Manifesto
BBC/Getty Images

The claim:  The government's increase in National Insurance contributions is a breach of its 2015 manifesto.

Reality Check verdict:  The government did promise in its manifesto not to raise National Insurance contributions, and this is an increase, so it has broken that pledge. It has not broken the law that enshrined its pledge as this applies to employees only, not the self-employed.

Read more here.