Motion: Building a political consensus to defend HE
This Branch/Region/Committee notes:
- the predicted HE UK financial crisis in 2020-21 due to an expected collapse in student numbers as a result of Covid-19
- that no new funding for HE is currently offered from the Johnson Government, despite spending ~£100bn in self-employment subsidies and furlough
- that employers are attacking staff now: SOAS and Roehampton have announced redundancy plans, Roehampton cutting pay; other HEIs are refusing to renew contracts of HPLs, threatening to leave national pay bargaining, etc.
- the Statement launched by the Convention for Higher Education https://heconvention2.wordpress.com/2020/05/25/new-future-for-he/, calling for an affordable* socially-progressive rescue package of a 30% tuition fee subsidy and student maintenance grant, which is envisaged to have the greatest benefit to socially inclusive universities, including post-92.
This Branch/Region/Committee believes:
- that the Government sees a 2020-21 market failure as an opportunity to shrink the university sector through bankruptcies and mergers,
- that we face a limited window of opportunity to get the Convention Statement on the radar of MPs.
This Branch/Region/Committee resolves:
- to support the Statement, and to call on branches to circulate it to members, and discuss it and pass a similar motion to this one.
- to encourage the discussion and adoption of this statement in institution Academic Boards, Senates, Faculty and School Boards, professional societies, etc.
- to set up a Convention Statement Working Group to actively promote it among local MPs, Mayors and Councillors.
- to support and publicise future activities of the Convention for Higher Education, see https://heconvention2.wordpress.com/.
*To provide context, the last published accounts of the Student Loan Company in 2017-18 reported total loans of £18.2bn. The Treasury estimate of the student loan write-off, ‘RAB’ factor, is at least 40% of the loan or ~£7.28bn a year (a direct subsidy from future taxpayers). Using HESA data, a 30% undergraduate fee reduction would be expected to cost less than £1.2bn (30% of fee = £2bn × 60% after write-off).