Tom Bailey takes a look into the world of sector financial forecasts, and finds evidence of “historic pessimism”. But what comes next?
After the heat and noise around Labour’s announced £6,000 fee policy, Martin McQuillan continues his monthly series on higher education politics and policy by turning his attention to the Conservative Party – their policies and what life might be like for universities if the Conservatives are returned to power in May.
Today came the HEFCE grant letter from BIS which outlines funding for higher education in England for 2015-16. Overall the allocations remain much the same as indicated in last years letter, but as ever, there are some interesting bits around the margins that the wonks will want to note.
This week the results of the latest cycle of research audit in UK universities will be published. This will trigger a frenzy of analysis as the bones of REF 2014 are picked over with a view to identifying winners and losers, risers and fallers, and what if anything it might mean for the future. Martin McQuillan looks at how research funding has been treated by this Government and what future for the process is there in a time of increasing austerity.
The Autumn Statement confirmed the Chancellor’s plans to make further substantial cuts in the next Parliament. Around £4bn will likely have to come out of the budget for Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Julian Gravatt thinks the unthinkable about what this means for HE, research, science and skills.
A few days after the Autumn Statement, Martin McQuillan considers the Osborne plan to expand student numbers based on questionable finances that the IFS have labelled ‘economic nonsense’ and have slowly started to unravel. This short-termist policy may have big implications in years to come as BIS will have to make up any further shortfall in the HE budget – a budget already under extreme pressure. With so many risks ahead, the HE sector needs to take a long and detailed look at this scheme.