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UCU response to Autumn Statement

22 November 2023

UCU today called on the government to prioritise further education after decades of underfunding.

Responding to the Chancellor's Autumn Statement, UCU general secretary Jo Grady said, 'This Autumn Statement is yet another missed opportunity to address the crisis in our public services. The statement says "Long-term investment in human capital is crucial for growth and productivity" - this government has a funny way of showing it. 

'Further education, for so long a Cinderella service, gets some warm words, and while the promised £600m "downpayment" over two years sounds like a big number, it won't go very far given all the things the Chancellor says it will have to cover. Ministers don't understand further education. They don't consider it a priority because they don't send their kids there. It's simply not a service that people like them use. The truth is that more than a decade of underfunding has hollowed out provision by driving down pay to the point where many leave the sector simply because they can't afford to stay working in it. If this government cared about long term investment or growth, they'd put their money where their mouth is and properly fund our colleges so they can retain crucial staff.' 

UCU recently submitted evidence to an inquiry into the current skills system which said that the way to secure the delivery of good quality skills for the UK economy is through greater respect for the further education sector and better pay and conditions for staff.

Last updated: 24 November 2023