Boost the billion

July 26, 2002

Lord Sainsbury's remarks are misleading ("£1.25 billion equals 'no excuses'", THES , July 19). Universities need £9.94 billion to reach the government's targets, £1.25 billion is not enough. Unless backed by investment in teaching, research cannot achieve its full potential. It is difficult for universities to plan up to 2005-06 without news of investment.

Universities are committed to improving their costing and financial management systems. Most do not hold reserves and are unable to use other funds "to tide them over until next year", as the Association of University Teachers suggests. Such funds can be used only for the purposes set out in their award agreements or contracts. Any use of these funds for other purposes might well constitute fraudulent practice.

Diana Warwick
Chief executive, Universities UK

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