The Friday email: 7 July 2017

This week's top 4: 

As reports shows poorest students pay most UCU calls for tax on business to abolish fees:

Students from the poorest backgrounds are leaving university with the most debt thanks to the government's decision to scrap maintenance grants, said a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies on Wednesday. The least well off students will graduate owing more than £57,000 in tuition fees and loans. UCU general secretary Sally Hunt told Sky News the current system was a complete mess. UCU said that the time had come for business to make a substantial contribution towards the cost of higher education.

UCU welcomes labour commitment to free further education courses for life:

The Labour party yesterday promised free further education courses at any stage of life as the centrepiece of a plan to avoid another "lost decade" for the economy. Jeremy Corbyn fleshed out his manifesto promise of a National Education Service. Responding, Sally Hunt said: 'We can continue to featherbed big business with a corporate tax regime which is more generous than countries like France, Germany and the US, or we can change direction and ask the most profitable companies to pay a bit more in order to fund access to education.' Speaking on Question Time last night, Caroline Lucas name-checked UCU's Business Education Tax (BET) which calls for increases in corporation tax to fund education.

UCU e-ballot on higher education pay:

The HE pay e-ballot opened on Tuesday this week. Members are being asked to make an important decision about whether to accept or reject the 'final' pay offer of 1.7%. HE members who have not received an email containing their unique voting code should click here.

Stop privatisation at the Open University:

Despite very short notice, over 80 staff attended a 'pop-up' rally against privatisation to hear about the university's proposal to privatise IT services and move Open University staff to for-profit companies at. More than 200 staff could be affected by this plan, which UCU feels could lead to a downgrading of the systems and huge loss of essential expertise. Over 6,900 people have now signed the petition, please join them here.

In the news

  • Poorest students hit hardest by government fee reforms
  • Tories' tuition fee turmoil
  • Labour plans for a National Education Service
  • How zero-hours contracts are bad for your health

 All this and more here.

Last updated: 7 July 2017