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University Alliance Warns Chancellor’s Investment Goes Little Way to Reversing Historic Cuts

University Alliance welcomes the Government’s announcement of increased investment in allied healthcare training and increased funding for schools and colleges, but warns that this must be followed by sustained investment across all forms of post-16 education.

UA CEO Vanessa Wilson said:

“Today’s budget has bought little assurance for higher education. Universities are vital to improving productivity, boosting economic growth and increasing opportunities, but only when adequately funded. The Government’s lack of specific funding for universities could threaten these, should it result in a real-time cut in funding.

“While today’s cash injection for schools and colleges is welcome, it does little to reverse the damage caused by the historic and catastrophic underfunding of the sector. Of the £400m announced, a considerable proportion has already been allocated for T-levels, so this funding doesn’t actually meet the vast real-term funding reductions the sectors have faced.

“As the Chancellor has himself experienced, further education has long been “the forgotten sector” but it is an important stepping stone to university.

Therefore it’s essential that we work together to make the case for long-term sustained investment across early years, schools, colleges, adult education and our universities, or we risk shutting down these opportunities for future students.”

Speaking of the investment in NHS workforce, Vanessa Wilson said:

“The investment in allied healthcare training is a welcome relief to an over-stretched sector. Alliance universities play a vital role in training future generations of nurses and NHS staff, but currently, institutions are struggling to recruit students across the sector as cuts to the Continuing Professional Development fund have restricted numbers of clinical placements.

“We’re extremely pleased to see today’s announcement of £150m funding to replenish the NHS CPD fund. This will go some way to meet the challenges in recruitment and retention of NHS staff.

“However it is important the government also reinstate other historic cuts which have had a devastating effect on NHS staff recruitment, such as bursaries and other financial incentives for students. We’re supporting the Royal College of Nursing’s call for £1bn a year in higher education for nurses. This will be vital in combatting the NHS workforce crisis.”