27 June 2020
Commenting on the government’s university research support package, UCU said that while any new money was welcome, the government needed to do much more to safeguard the entire university sector, and protect students and staff.
UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: ‘This latest announcement from the government fails to put students and staff at the centre of its recovery plans. While there is some new money in the form of a grant to research-intensive universities, the rest of the package consists of loans and repackaged existing spending commitments.
‘The proposals barely mention students other than to make clear that universities who focus most on teaching will receive little of the new money now available. The failure to properly support the sector means that casual staff and those from BAME backgrounds will suffer the most as universities lose academic capacity and seek to get rid of staff. This is an insult to staff who responded so impressively keeping institutions open and students learning.
‘We desperately need a package that prioritises the needs of students and staff across our diverse higher education sector and guarantees all universities’ survival. This is why we are calling on the government to properly underwrite the sector and fund the future. Universities are a crucial part of the economic and social fabric of the UK and they must all be given the support they need to ensure they can be central to our recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.’
More on UCU’s Fund The Future campaign can be found here.
A poll of prospective students released earlier this month revealed that almost a quarter (23%) feared that the university they wanted to study at this year could go bust because of the Covid-19 crisis. Half (49%) feared that damage caused by funding cuts because of the pandemic would negatively impact on their education and over two-thirds (71%) backed a delay to the start of term.