Higher education bill will damage UK universities without Lords' amendments

UCU has called on MPs to oppose government attempts to water down amendments to the higher education and research bill as it returns to the House of Commons later today.

The controversial bill was heavily amended in the House of Lords with peers introducing measures which would protect quality, make it harder for private colleges to access public money, limit the scope of the Teaching Excellence Framework (Tef) and guarantee the rights of international students and staff.

The government has rejected the changes and is asking MPs to support a number of alternative amendments instead. UCU has warned that the proposed concessions are weaker than the Lords' amendments and won't offer the same level of protection for quality and the sector's international reputation, and urged MPs to vote to keep the Lords' amendments in the bill.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'This damaging higher education bill has been roundly criticised by the House of Lords, and peers across the political spectrum have worked hard to address concerns raised by students and staff through a number of helpful amendments.

'In an attempt to rush through the legislation before parliament is dissolved, the government is trying to replace these changes with much weaker concessions. Without the protections offered by the Lords' amendments, the bill risks eroding the quality and international reputation of our higher education system.

'We are now calling on MPs to reject the government's proposals and vote to keep the Lords' amendments in the bill when it returns to the House of Commons today.'

Last updated: 28 April 2017

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