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Higher education cuts will increase threat of university closures and put thousands of jobs at risk, warns UCU

12 January 2010

UCU today called on the government to protect staff and students in higher education after warnings by university heads that up to 30 universities could be forced to close.

Responding to calls by the Russell Group of universities for university funding to be protected during the recession the union warned that planned cuts could lead to over 9,000 jobs being axed by 2013 in addition to 5,000 front line posts already identified as being 'at risk'.
In December the government revealed that it would be making extra cuts of £135m to universities, on top of the £600 million announced in the pre-budget report. UCU said that students will face larger class sizes and substantial cuts to courses, as thousands of teachers find themselves on the dole queue.
The higher education sector is taking the biggest hit in public spending cuts and the union pointed to the fact that while Germany, France and the US had all pumped additional funding into higher education as part of their economic recovery programmes, the government cuts were putting at risk the UK's international competitiveness and chances of economic recovery.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'UCU has already identified over 5,000 jobs at risk in higher education and we are now looking at thousands more. Unless these savage cuts are reversed, we face the very real prospect of many universities being forced to close, over 14,000 staff losing their jobs and some of the biggest class sizes in the world.
'The government simply cannot afford to ignore these warnings if it wants the UK to remain a major player in the global knowledge economy. The higher education system is already creaking under the pressure of government efficiency savings and the planned cuts will be a devastating blow to the sector.
'Other leading economies are investing money in universities in order to help economic growth and improve social mobility, yet our government seems intent on doing the opposite. If higher education is allowed to go to the wall, the dreams of many hard-working parents for their kids to go to university and make the make the best of themselves will be over.'

Last updated: 11 December 2015