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Students join lecturers for lobby of MPs

1 April 2014

A class of students will be joining lecturers from across the country tomorrow to call on politicians to back more funding for colleges and universities. Students and lecturers will be outside Parliament at 2.15pm for a photo opportunity before heading into the House of Commons to meet their MP.

The 30 students, who are studying at east London's Tower Hamlets College, will join members of UCU to warn MPs of all political parties that cuts to post-16 education risk leaving the UK behind other countries where investment is already higher.

The lobbyists will also emphasise how every pound of taxpayers' money invested in colleges and universities generates crucial economic and social dividends. The students and union members will tell politicians:

  • further education funding is being cut: the adult skills budget in England will reduce by 19% (£463 million) between now and 2016. In Wales, the budget for adult and community learning is due to be slashed by 37.5%
  • higher education funding is being squeezed: the recurrent teaching grant is set to reduce by 42% (£1.2 billion) by 2016. Institutions will face a 5.85% funding drop in teaching budgets next year (2014/15)
  • the net public benefit of an individual being educated to tertiary level is 13%, meaning that for every pound invested beyond secondary education, £13 is returned to the UK economy*.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'While other countries seem to recognise the value of investing more in education, the UK risks falling behind. Study after study has shown that investment in education and training pays dividends many times over.

'We know that skilled and educated people are the key drivers of economic growth, creating jobs and prosperity for the country. On a personal level, they are more likely to be happy, healthy and contribute to wider society outside of their workplaces. We need to demonstrate the importance of education to MPs and all political parties need to make clear ahead of the election what their plans are. '

Lobbyists will be sharing their experiences and photos on Twitter via the hashtag #uculobby and the union's Twitter feed @ucu will be providing updates. Photos of the students and lecturers outside Parliament will be available from the UCU press office.

* OECD 'Education at a Glance' 2013, pp 146-147 (pdf)

Last updated: 18 July 2019