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University scare stories add nothing to funding debate, says UCU

27 September 2010 | last updated: 11 December 2015

UCU today said the UK risked undermining its position as a global leader in higher education if it pushed ahead with huge increases in university fees and allowed universities to go to the wall.

The union was responding to, what it described as 'yet more leaks', over the weekend about potential outcomes from the Browne review of university funding. UCU said ministers and people close to the Browne review should stop kite-flying dangerous policies that would damage universities and force students to pay even more for an education, and look at real radical ways to fund universities.
The union said that the closure of any university will have a massive impact on the local community. Weekend reports name-checked the University of Cumbria, the University of Gloucestershire and London Metropolitan University as at risk under a new regime with more for-profit universities, and universities allowed to charge much higher fees.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The steady stream of stories about universities being forced to the wall or student fees of £10,000 adds absolutely nothing to the debate about how we best fund our universities.  University closures are not in the country's interests and would really hit the local community.
'Politicians and self-interest groups have been trying to come up with imaginative ways to squeeze more cash out of students for months, but should be looking at new radical ways to secure the funding we need.
'Lord Browne and the government must look at the idea of taxing big business for the substantial benefits it gains from a plentiful supply of graduates and using that money to expand, rather than reduce, opportunity to study. The debate has to move away from how to squeeze more money out of students and their hard-pressed families.'