Shabana Mahmood MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Higher Education, commenting on the announcement in a letter from BIS to HEFCE that the Government is cutting funding to universities by 31.6 per cent by 2013-14, and that funding for science and research is being cut by 20 per cent between 2010-11 and 2013-14, said:
“On the day we learn the economy is shrinking, choked off by the Government cutting too far and too fast, ministers should recognise the crucial importance of investing in our universities to secure our long term economic competitiveness.
“They are also cutting student places by 15,000 and will deny yet more people the opportunity to go to university and develop skills to make them more employable and to make our businesses more productive. The Government has failed to acknowledge the importance of a university education and is pursuing policies that reflect this.
“Labour has been calling on the Government to make no further changes to the student number controls in 2013-2014, as the sector needs stability at a time when breakneck changes are being made and institutions need time to adjust.
“Ministers have announced their intention to monitor the impact of these changes, and Labour will continue to hold them to account for their decisions which are causing so much uncertainty to institutions which should be drivers of growth.
“Labour would reverse the corporation tax cut for banks and use the money to help cut fees to a maximum of £6,000. That is the difference between Labour, which makes investing in skills and knowledge a priority, and an out of touch Tory-led Government that is restricting opportunity and damaging the future of our economy.”
Chi Onwurah MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Innovation and Science, commenting on the HEFCE science and research grant figures, said:
“David Cameron and David Willetts like to talk the talk on science but the HEFCE grant for science and research is being cut in real terms. In addition to this, the research capital component is not protected and is slashed by 52%. This will dramatically affect research, building an investment backlog for the future and negatively affecting our ability to attract and retain the best global talent.”