The UK will experience a cut in student numbers for university as had been planned by the previous government. There will be about 10,000 fewer university spots this year than had been promised by the labor government, despite record high applications. The Labor government had promised funding for 20,000 additional places for the degree courses to deal with a 16.5% increase in demand. However, these hopes have dwindled with the coalition government’s announcements that only 10,000 extra places will be available as a result of cuts in government public spending. Therefore, the few extra places will have to be split between 8,000 full undergraduate and 2000 part time positions.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has had its budgetary allocation cut by 3.9%, about £836 million. Out of its reduced allocation, £82 million is expected to emanate from savings from universities this fiscal year and about £118 million will emanate from a fund set up to offer extra slots under the labor government. The government’s total budgetary allocation for higher education is £7.3 billion and spending for research, innovation, business and enterprise will be protected.
In response, the Lecture’s Union said that ministers had killed the hopes of many people by halving of the number of extra university slots. The Lecture’s Union was particularly incensed by the government’s promise to slash corporation tax at a cost of £6.4 billion to the Treasury.
The Liberal Democrats appeared to be reneging on their flagship policy to fight against fees. According to the Union, the UK’s competitors are increasing their graduate numbers to compete favorably in high-skill knowledge economies. Denying thousands of students a chance at university education is tantamount to increasing the burden on the UK’s benefits system.
Universities UK President, Professor Smith said that universities in the UK were already dealing with the effects of over £1 billion cuts imposed by the Labor government since December 2009 and the further £200 million of in-year cuts will make the task of meeting student demand harder.
Whereas the government cut places for university admission, it announced an increase in monies to apprenticeships. He described the fact that competitor countries in the education sector across the globe had realized that education is key to training and turning individuals into a viable workforce through research and development, engineering and even brick laying. The spending cuts are expected to affect all segments of UK education from primary to tertiary and further learning.
May 26, 2010.