Letter: 'Ducking' UUK keeps powder dry (1)

March 16, 2001

I must reject claims of "paralysis" at Universities UK after our recent meeting in Newcastle ("V-cs attacked for ducking fight for cash", THES, March 9). Nothing could be further from the truth. The Taylor report is no lame duck. It is a very powerful tool with which we can fight our future funding campaigns with government.

UUK has a clear view from its membership about the way forward. We must press home the investment needs of higher education in the build-up to the election and during future spending review discussions.

We have already been invited to brief government officials, and secretary of state for education David Blunkett has praised the report as "an important contribution to the debate on higher education funding which I called for at Greenwich".

The debate on funding must be robust and evidence-based. The review group's report gives the spectrum of ways forward and a commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of each option. All options will need to be considered against future public spending plans.

We are not "paralysed" but ready to fight our corner in campaigning for additional investment in universities. We have furnished ourselves with facts and arguments. As our soon-to-be published charter for higher education will state, we are ready for dialogue with all who are grooming themselves for political power.

Sir Howard Newby
President, Universities UK

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