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UCU welcomes government commitment to fair funding system

16 December 2010

UCU Scotland welcomes the government commitment that the state should have prime responsibility to fund Scottish universities. The union was responding to a government consultation looking at how best to fund Scottish higher education.

UCU backed the consultation's proposal to find the correct balance for sharing the costs of higher education fairly among those who benefit. The union also welcomed the consultation's acknowledgement that a properly-funded university system should recognise the many benefits that higher education provides for society, our economy, our health and our culture.

The union said Scottish universities need extra funding to continue to compete and thrive on the world stage and ensure Scotland does not fall behind in the global knowledge economy. However, it argued that merely forcing students to plug a funding gap would fail to address the funding issues and would risk Scotland's proud record on access to higher education for its students.

UCU Scottish official, Mary Senior, said: 'Higher education is crucial to the future of Scotland and we need to invest to ensure that Scotland does not lag behind our global competitors. We agree with Mike Russell that the worse thing we could do is look south of the border and try to emulate the disastrous English system of forcing students to pay for devastating funding cuts.

'We need sustained investment in higher education. We must not join the elite group of developed countries, currently England and Romania, that are cutting back funding in this vital area. We need to seize this opportunity to really look at radical new ways to fund our universities.

'The time has come for a fair and progressive system of funding where all three beneficiaries of higher education, including big business, pay their fair share.'

Last updated: 11 December 2015