The headline "Whitehall seeks £1.5bn 'savings' from sector budget" (17 January) was grossly inaccurate.
Last year's Comprehensive Spending Review made clear the Government's commitment to increase investment in higher education, building on considerable funding to the sector since 1997. Public spending on higher education institutions will exceed £7 billion this year.
The 2.2 per cent annual real-terms increase in funding is not contingent on the level of value-for-money savings that we have asked the Higher Education Funding Council for England to provide. The savings are about making this increased funding go even further.
We have asked Hefce to identify and deliver savings of £490 million by 2010-11. This forms part of a wider target of £1.5 billion savings across all sectors within the remit of the Department of Innovation, Universities and Skills (not solely higher education).
These savings are to be found primarily through improved value for money such as better public procurement and shared services and are wholly achievable in my view.
Bill Rammell, Minister of State for Lifelong Learning, Further and Higher Education.