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David Lammy's contradictory message on university funding reveals full folly of government cuts

25 January 2010

UCU today said the government's increasingly confused messages on higher education revealed the failings of its planned cuts for university funding.

Writing in the Policy Review magazine, David Lammy, said that real excellence in universities can't exist without money. However, he also warned that universities would have to wait years for increased public spending on higher education.

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 America had all pumped additional funding into higher education as part of their economic recovery programmes, the government cuts were putting the UK's international competitiveness at risk.

UCU has already identified over 5,000 jobs at risk in higher education and believes the cuts will lead to thousands more. University chiefs said recently that 30 universities risked going to the wall. The union has further warned that unless the cuts are reversed, over 14,000 staff risk losing their jobs and our students will face some of the biggest class sizes in the world.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'You cannot just axe funding without consequences and David Lammy's article reveals the full folly of the government's plans. He says he recognises the global competition our universities face, the fantastic work they are doing just to compete and the need for funding to maintain excellence. Yet the government has announced devastating funding cuts.

'Our competitor countries, quite rightly, are ringfencing extra cash for universities as part of their recovery packages and unless we do likewise then we are seriously risking our proud international reputation. Other leading economies are investing money in universities in order to help economic growth and widen participation, yet our government seems intent on doing the opposite.'

Last updated: 11 December 2015