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Government support package for universities doesn’t provide protection the sector needs

3 May 2020 | last updated: 4 May 2020

Responding to the support package announced by the Department for Education, UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:

‘While it is encouraging that the government appears to have recognised the need to provide support for universities, this package does not deliver the protection or stability that students, staff and the communities they serve so desperately need. The Office for Budget Responsibility says universities are most at risk of financial pain from the current crisis and they need more than IOUs to solve the problems they face.

‘The student number cap is a misnomer as it will enable the wealthiest universities to substantially grow their domestic student base at the expense of other more locally-focussed institutions. We cannot afford to let this dog-eat-dog approach risk substantial damage both to our country’s academic capacity and local economies which universities are such an important part of.

‘Instead of kicking the can down the road, the government must underwrite funding lost from a fall in domestic and international student numbers and remove incentives for universities to compete against each other at a time when we need to be pulling together.’

A report by London Economics for UCU highlighted a £2.5bn loss of income from tuition fees and teaching grants.

The Office for Budget Responsibility said education would be the sector hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis, with the impact likely to be felt most by universities

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