Uni union’s anger at HE cuts

Up to 15,000 jobs are at risk as a result of the government’s attack on higher education funding, a union has warned.

The warning came as the number of university applications for the 2010/11 year jumped by over 100,000 on last year.

Skills secretary Peter Mandelson had previously announced plans to cut funding by £135 million next year.

Fines will be imposed on universities who admit students above government-prescribed limits and they will be forced to consider a “wider variety of provision”, potentially including two-year degrees.

The University and College Union’s general secretary Sally Hunt said the “savage” cuts could not be made without “serious consequences”.

“The government is abandoning a generation who instead of benefiting from education will find themselves on the dole alongside sacked teaching staff,” she said.

“We will see planned changes and building projects put on hold, we will see our already comparatively large class sizes increase to among the biggest in the world, we will see thousands more students denied access to university as youth unemployment rises and we will see staff following them to the dole queue.”

Under the proposed cuts, real-terms public spending per student will fall for the first time in a decade.

The Conservatives plan to offer an additional 10,000 fully-funded university places next year.