Government questioned on financial sustainability of universities

11 February 2019

The University of Reading last week reported itself to financial regulators over a £121 million loan. Following this, the Shadow Secretary for Education, Angela Rayner, asked the Government to make a statement on the financial sustainability of English Universities.

A number of British universities have reported financial difficulties in recent years, citing various factors including student numbers and Brexit.

Responding for the Department of Education, Universities Minister Chris Skidmore expressed concern but said;

"This Government recognises the importance of the higher education sector and the massive contribution it makes to this country. We recognise the multiple challenges the sector is facing and that these will require institutions to adapt to a more competitive and uncertain environment [...] But ultimately, as autonomous bodies, the financial viability of universities is a matter for the leadership of the HE providers themselves."

Angela Rayner responded for the Opposition, calling on the Government to be more specific in its approach to pressures facing the University sector, and asking the Minister to;

"reassure us that it is the Government’s policy to prevent such a disaster? I do not feel reassured from his response that he has a grip of this."

Image: Agbrittanica

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