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EDITIONS
 Wednesday, 17 April, 2002, 04:24 GMT 05:24 UK
Universities demand extra funding
Gordon Brown
The pre-Budget statement promised little to education
University chiefs say they need extra funds if they are to achieve the government's target to increase places in higher education.

And they will be looking to Chancellor Gordon Brown's Budget to tackle what they say is a serious funding shortfall.

Universities UK has written to the Education Secretary Estelle Morris warning her that many vice chancellors are "deeply unhappy" with funding allocations.

They say that funding arrangements will mean cutbacks for some universities and departments.

The government wants universities to expand to provide places for at least 50% of young people by the end of the decade.

But universities argue that they are not receiving budget increases to match these ambitions - which they say they will require an extra 17,000 staff.

These calls for more money have been echoed by the chair of the Education Select Committee, Barry Sheerman - who says higher education should be a priority above health.

"The benefits are provable and apparent. I believe that an extra pound invested in higher education is better value than an extra pound invested in health," said Mr Sheerman.

"One of the real problems in our country is that we don't take higher education seriously enough."

Student loans

But students waiting to find how the government intends to reform the loans system are likely to have to wait until later this summer.

There has been speculation that graduate taxes could replace or complement loans and tuition fees, but this will not be known until the comprehensive spending review in July.

With little promised for education in the pre-Budget statement in November, teachers might also be looking to the spending review for extra funds, rather than Wednesday's Budget.

Teachers' unions have threatened industrial action unless the government resolves a long-running dispute over workload.

And they will be looking to the spending review to provide the extra funds needed to reduce working hours and to alleviate staff shortages.

But head teachers will be looking to the Chancellor for a repeat of previous Budgets, in which he has announced windfall payments for books and equipment.


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01 Dec 01 | Mike Baker
27 Nov 01 | Education
11 Apr 02 | Education
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