Letter: Cash isn't the question

October 5, 2001

London Guildhall University Natfhe chairman Alan Lafferty (Letters, THES , September 28), risks deflecting attention from the real issue of education provision by focusing his comments on the institutions' financial health in the proposed merger of LGU and the University of North London.

New universities are more dependent on government than old universities for their financial health. Financial problems will be overcome in the interest of getting through a merger.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England is already financing the so-called investigation of the proposed merger and will invest substantial funds to get it through. Job losses are Hefce's reward.

The strength of institutions is not to be measured in terms of finance but in the breadth and quality of provision. By these criteria, UNL is the stronger institution. But this is only because LGU vice-chancellor Roderick Floud cut numbers of academic staff to finance the acquisition of buildings and to make the university "leaner and fitter" for the marketplace. In other words, he has been busy preparing it for merger, the effect of which would be to the detriment of students, staff and the local community.

Pat Brady
Chislehurst
Kent

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