Government must halt its “savage attacks” on UK higher education, say Greens

9 December 2010

The Green Party has expressed dismay at the results of a report published today by the University and College Union (UCU).

The Universities at risk report examines the impact on universities and their local communities of government plans to slash university funding while increasing tuition fees.

The report discovered that more than one in three universities in England will face serious financial difficulty as a result of the new funding proposals. Out of the total 130 English universities, 4 are at "very high" risk, with a further 23 at "high" risk and 22 at "high-medium" risk. All are modern or specialist universities.

Furthermore, the report highlights the impact of cuts to higher education budgets on the wider economy. A 2009 study for Universities UK showed that every £1m of university revenue generated 13.4 full time jobs in universities, and 13.8 in other sectors of the UK economy.

UCU analysis also shows that for every £1m of university output, £1.38m additional output was generated.

"The government's savage destruction of British higher education must be stopped"

Commenting on the report, Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP said:

"The UCU's recent report, Universities at Risk, shows just how devastating the rise in tuition fees will be. For example, in my constituency of Brighton Pavilion, the finding that a £30m cut to the University of Brighton's teaching budget could result in an additional £36m loss to the regional economy is staggering. The government's savage destruction of British higher education must be stopped.

"Slashing 80% from university teaching budgets, with a complete withdrawal of funding for arts, humanities and social sciences, will place departments and institutions at risk of closure, and massively increase student debt.

"There are alternatives - like the business education tax, a proposal to increase main rate corporation tax up to the G7 average, which would still leave 96% of UK companies unaffected."

She added:

"I will be voting against tuition fees today, and urge my fellow MPs to do the same."



1. Click here to read the UCU report.

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