Letter: 'Ducking' UUK keeps powder dry (4)

March 16, 2001

Sir Howard Newby may see "no point in pressing for specific proposals on funding" because he no doubt believes that the "budget boosts funding" and "universities will benefit from a raft of measures", as your story claims ("Budget boosts funding for universities' R&D", THES, March 9).

I read the story carefully and checked several budget digests in the media but found no mention of any funding increase directed at universities. There are improved tax benefits to businesses, and perhaps the change to VAT may apply to our university art collection. Have I overlooked our university's share option scheme, or does the tax relief on goodwill extend to smiling through gritted teeth at 2.5 million extra customers?

Spending on schools may have risen, but the Department for Education and Employment continues to curtail spending on universities while extending control over them. Businesses do not fund research overheads; they presume to find "well-found" facilities. UK higher education is now viewed as higher only in the sense of one slogan: pile it high and sell it cheap.

I remain married, a mortgage payer, with one child at university and a second about to apply (hoorah for the staff discount and two-for-one offer), stuck on an academic-related pay scale, committed and deeply sceptical.

R. Allan Reese
University of Hull

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