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Labour Party's seven tests for higher education and demand for government support

23 July 2020 | last updated: 24 July 2020

UCU has welcomed calls by the Labour Party for the government to ensure no university is allowed to fail, but said that more needed to be done now to protect the jobs of precariously employed staff.

Responding to the publication of seven tests for the government by shadow universities minister Emma Hardy, UCU said that anything less than a serious financial support package would be a betrayal of staff and students. This follows recent polling showing that voters in some of the UK's most marginal seats fear the local damage from university cuts and want the government to intervene. 

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: 'Universities and colleges are a vital part of the economic and social fabric of the UK and will be central to our recovery from the damage done by Covid-19. The government's actions so far have not met the massive challenges faced by the sector and many institutions have already started threaten staff with jobs cuts, particularly those on casual contracts, who make up almost half of university teaching staff.

'The knock-on effect on the local community of a university going bust would be catastrophic. Around three-quarters of voters in 30 marginal university seats said their local university was important to the local economy, and feared a negative impact should it go bust. The government needs to provide a serious support package for universities to protect jobs and safeguard students' futures. Anything less would be a betrayal of the staff and students that have worked so hard during the current crisis, and leave the sector ill-equipped to help lead the country's recovery.'

Last month UCU launched its Fund The Future campaign, which calls on the government to provide emergency support now to safeguard the future of universities and colleges.

 

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