Boycott Brighton Boycott Brighton (half banner)

Fighting fund banner


Staff and students join for national day of action against education funding cuts

18 June 2010

Demonstrations to be held in over 70 colleges and universities across the UK

Staff and students at over 70 colleges and universities will take part in a national day of action on Monday 21 June against funding cuts in further, higher and adult education. The demonstrations, which have been organised jointly by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), the GMB, the National Union of Students (NUS), UNISON, the University and College Union (UCU), and UNITE, will call on the chancellor George Osborne to protect education in next Tuesday's budget.

University funding is being slashed by £1.2 billion over the next three years with four in five institutions facing cuts. In further education up to 7,000 jobs are at risk as a result of  public funding cuts of £200 million for adult learning, and the unions will warn that funding cuts in both sectors cannot be made without having a serious impact on the quality of students' education.
Over 200,000 people look set to miss out on a university place next year and up to 70% of further education colleges say they are being forced to axe courses. The education unions, who have tabled an early day motion*, will urge the government to follow countries like France, Germany and the US which have invested public money in education to aid their economic recovery, and have not made punitive cuts.
The education unions will call on ministers to put education at the heart of Britain's economic recovery through public investment and will reject calls for an increase in tuition fees.
Dr Mary Bousted, ATL general secretary, said: 'It would be the height of folly to further cut funding for further, higher and adult education when we already have one million 16-25 year olds out of work and not in education or training and seven million adults are illiterate. We want to hold the coalition government to its word to maintain education funding for 16-19 year olds and for everyone over 16.'
GMB national officer, Rehana Azam, said: 'Education is a fundamental right and this coalition government are proposing cuts that will lose us a generation of learners. The trade unions are rightly proud of their record of fighting injustice and inequality and it is with this determination we will fight the cuts in education and cuts in jobs.'
Aaron Porter, NUS President-elect, said: 'The economy is still incredibly fragile, and to deny the best education and skills to the professionals, innovators and entrepreneurs necessary to rebuild a strong economy in the coming years would prove to be a costly mistake. If our colleges and universities are not properly funded, their enviable reputation around the world will start to be called into question. Asking students and their families to pay more for less would be unacceptable and we will fight to ensure that the coalition takes its responsibility to students seriously.'
UNISON general secretary, Dave Prentis said: 'George Osborne needs reminding that there is no support for savage cuts to our education system. This will hit communities struggling out of recession, young people already facing a bleak future and redundant workers needing to re-skill. All staff are part of the wider frontline team - the librarians helping students with research, the security guards and cleaners keeping them safe and the admin staff dealing with student grants and queries.'
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'You cannot make cuts without serious consequences. Where will the next generation of doctors, nurses, engineers and social workers come from if not universities? Who will provide the opportunity for unemployed people to learn and retrain if not colleges? The government is wrong to ask educators to do more for less. Anyone who thinks that cuts will not massively impact on the quality of education in this country is living in a dream world.'
UNITE national officer for Higher Education, Mike Robinson, said: 'Education is the seedbed for our economic future - greater skills and knowledge acquired by young men and women will underpin the UK recovery. Education is the gateway for innovation and creativity that has been the foundation for this country's prosperity over the last 150 years. To slash the education budget is a retrograde step. We should be investing more not less.'

Copy of early day motion: 217: United for Education coalition

That this House welcomes the United for Education coalition which includes the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, the GMB, the Educational Institute of Scotland, the NUS, the University and College Union, UNISON and Unite the Union; believes that education is an engine of economic recovery and social mobility which also changes the lives and builds the hope of individuals, families and communities; notes that over 1.2 billion of cuts have been announced to higher education with more than 200 million also cut from further education and adult learning budgets; expresses deep concern that thousands of jobs have already been lost with thousands more at risk; fears that provision of education will be restricted with up to 70 per cent of further education colleges cutting courses this year and up to 200,000 applicants missing out on a university place; rejects the idea of lifting the cap on student top-up fees; further notes that investment in education will ensure a skilled workforce to aid economic recovery; and calls on the government to protect educational provision, jobs and access through sustainable funding for the post-16 sector.

Last updated: 11 March 2019