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UCU condemns government for 'levelling down' university teaching quality and access

28 January 2021

UCU condemned the Department for Education's (DfE) plans to cut teaching grants for high-cost subjects and widening participation schemes.

In new guidance sent to the Office for Students (OfS), the DfE announced that universities in London will no longer receive the additional London weighting portion of teaching grants. The weighting has until now been given to London institutions in recognition of the significantly higher cost of education provision in the capital, such as higher salaries, living costs and more expensive facilities. Across London universities, it is expected that its removal will lead to a loss of £64 million in grant income.

UCU regional official for London Barry Jones said: 'The government is planning to cut the teaching grant income of London universities in the name of "levelling-up", but in reality it is pursuing an agenda of levelling down. The vast majority of universities are facing a real-terms cut to their teaching grant income due to the government's refusal to raise it in line with inflation.

'Leaving these institutions unable to meet the costs of teaching and providing access to widening participation schemes is inexcusable, especially in the middle of such a difficult time for the sector. If the government is really interested in levelling-up higher education, it should guarantee a real-terms increase in the teaching grant across the country, while retaining the London weighting.'

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