Third of Britain’s universities in real danger as a result of cuts

New research by the UCU has revealed that more than one in three of England’s universities could find themselves in real trouble as a result of government cuts.

Sally Hunt is the general secretary of the University and College Union

Universities are one of our great success stories. However, new research released by my union today has revealed that more than one in three of England’s universities could find themselves in real trouble as a result of government changes to higher education.

The report, Universities at risk – the impact of cuts in higher education spending on local economies, places 49 of England’s 130 higher education institutions at ‘very high’, ‘high’, or ‘high-medium’ risk of serious impact from government funding cuts to university teaching, which could leave them vulnerable to a merger or, in the worst-case scenario, closure.

Contrary to some accusations, notably from former anti-fees advocate Danny Alexander, we are not scaremongering. It’s time university leaders and MPs woke up and realised what is happening here – an 80% cut has to be paid for somehow and by someone.

If no universities are at any risk why did nine out of ten university bosses privately tell the BBC that they expect a university to shut within the decade? Vince Cable recently said institutions were struggling but no universities came out and challenged him.

The head of Universities UK is being used by the government to promote higher fees. Why is he not battling against plans to cut his universities’ teaching budgets by 80%? The sector’s fear to speak out will be its undoing. It is ridiculous to accuse us of causing problems for the sector. We seem to be alone in trying to expose them.

Universities are a major player in their local economies, creating masses of jobs on and off campus, and generating revenue through any number of related small businesses. Their impact reaches far beyond students and lecturers – they are wealth-creators for communities. It is a brave MP who decrees that any institution should be allowed to go to the wall.

For example, Sheffield Hallam University is by common consent a well-run university. On a turnover of £215m in 2009, Sheffield Hallam made a surplus of just £1.9m. The report estimates that the withdrawal of state funding for non-priority subjects will cost the institution around £47m a year. Assuming constant costs, if it fails to recover at least 96% of this lost income, presumably through higher fees, it will be forced into deficit and will need to consider reducing provision.

Such a radical policy shift will see entire subject areas, mainly arts and the humanities and social sciences, starved of public funds. We will enter an era of survival of the fittest. An era in which many arts-based and teaching-focused institutions, which rely on public funding far more than the larger research-intensive universities, will face an uncertain future.

25 Responses to “Third of Britain’s universities in real danger as a result of cuts”

  1. David Carter

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  2. Steph Winteringham

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  3. Tim Bedwell

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  4. BIHigherEd

    Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts – Left Foot Forward //bit.ly/eW48X4

  5. Lee Hyde

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  6. World Uni Rankings

    RT @BIHigherEd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts – Left Foot Forward //bit.ly/eW48X4

  7. emma dow

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  8. Liza Harding

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  9. UCU

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  10. irene rukerebuka

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  11. Shamik Das

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 by @ucu's Sally Hunt – now speaking live on @SkyNews

  12. Crimson Crip

    RT @shamikdas: RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 by @ucu's Sally Hunt – now speaking …

  13. jongoodbun

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  14. Kate Evans (Virgo)

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  15. Sebastian Dony

    Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: Universities are one of our great success st… //bit.ly/fVTrDN

  16. Rachel Pope

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  17. Huddersfield UCU

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  18. Eddy Anderson

    Here at Political Reboot, our new writer Emanuelle Esposti considers whether our students are barking up the wrong tree–or rather lamppost?

    ‘It is not the details of the report we should be condemning, but its overarching philosophy’:

    //politicalreboot.blogspot.com/2010/12/barking-up-wrong-lamppost-why-students.html

  19. Don't Break Britain

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  20. Third of Britain’s universities in real danger as a result of cuts – Left Foot Forward – Università Ohio

    […] Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cutsLeft Foot Forward… England's 130 higher education institutions at 'very high', 'high', or 'high-medium' risk of serious impact from government funding cuts to university …Funding cuts 'would put Cumbria university at risk'News & StarA third of colleges may close due to spending cutsLocalGovTuition Fees Could Unleash "An Era of Survival of the Fittest …eGov monitorRaleigh -Politics.co.uk -The Guardiantutte le notizie (207) » […]

  21. Jacob Richardson

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  22. Third of Britain’s universities in real danger as a result of cuts – Left Foot Forward – Università Ohio

    […] Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cutsLeft Foot Forward… England's 130 higher education institutions at 'very high', 'high', or 'high-medium' risk of serious impact from government funding cuts to university …Funding cuts 'would put Cumbria university at risk'News & StarA third of colleges may close due to spending cutsLocalGovTuition Fees Could Unleash "An Era of Survival of the Fittest …eGov monitorRaleigh -Politics.co.uk -The Guardiantutte le notizie (211) » […]

  23. Universities to charge more than £6000 under new proposals – Independent – Università Ohio

    […] & StarA third of colleges may close due to spending cutsLocalGovInsider Media -Left Foot Forward -eGov monitortutte le notizie […]

  24. AdamFlude &Comrades

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts: //bit.ly/f7UZB0 writes @ucu's Sally Hunt

  25. Spir.Sotiropoulou

    RT @leftfootfwd: Third of Britain's universities in real danger as a result of cuts //bit.ly/hILgwd

Leave a Reply