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UCU reacts to cabinet education appointments

28 June 2007 | last updated: 14 December 2015

UCU today welcomed the appointment of John Denham as innovation, universities and skills secretary.

Responding to the news, UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'We welcome John Denham to his new role within education and are interested to meet with him as soon as possible to establish exactly what his new role will involve and to detail the key issues we feel he will need to get to grips with.

'Any new minister has a pretty full in tray, but to be able to compete in the global knowledge economy the UK must match the levels of funding that other European countries and America enjoy as a proportion of GDP.

'The government has ambitious plans for higher education, but these plans cannot be delivered without adequate resources for the sector, particularly in terms of staff pay and conditions.

'The new prime minister has made very encouraging noises about the need for more people to have access to new skills in the past and we are pleased that this appears to be a significant part of the new minister's portfolio.

'However, further education needs adequate resources to fulfil its key role in developing the nation's skills while keeping adult education diverse and accessible. The funding gap between schools and further education colleges needs to be closed and the pay of college lecturers must be raised to the level of school teachers.'

The education secretary role has been split between Ed Balls as secretary for children, schools and families, and John Denham as secretary for innovation, universities and skills.