Model motion for UCU branches

Motion: Building a political consensus to defend HE

This Branch/Region/Committee notes:

  1. the predicted HE UK financial crisis in 2020-21 due to an expected collapse in student numbers as a result of Covid-19
  2. that no new funding for HE is currently offered from the Johnson Government, despite spending ~£100bn in self-employment subsidies and furlough
  3. 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.
  4. 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:

  1. that the Government sees a 2020-21 market failure as an opportunity to shrink the university sector through bankruptcies and mergers,
  2. that we face a limited window of opportunity to get the Convention Statement on the radar of MPs.

This Branch/Region/Committee resolves:

  1. 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.
  2. to encourage the discussion and adoption of this statement in institution Academic Boards, Senates, Faculty and School Boards, professional societies, etc.
  3. to set up a Convention Statement Working Group to actively promote it among local MPs, Mayors and Councillors.
  4. 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).

About Sean

Principal Research Fellow, Survey of English Usage, University College London
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