UUK is loud and proud

June 6, 2003

Alison Wolf mistakenly states that vice-chancellors, through Universities UK, have failed to make clear their views on three issues (Opinion, THES, May 30). UUK has not been afraid to rock the boat, on the record, in all three cases.

On the white paper, while welcoming the lifting of the cap on tuition fees, abolishing upfront contributions and reintroducing grants, we spoke clearly against the prospect of concentrating research funding and the direction of central government.

On the Tories' fees policy, UUK president Roderick Floud's comment that "the Conservatives propose to deprive universities of a much-needed source of funding to relieve middle-class students from paying fees" was widely reported. It is hard to see how that point could have been made more publicly.

On bureaucracy, UUK issued a March 2001 press release campaigning against the £250 million cost to higher education. The same month, I said in the House of Lords: "The present system places a cost on universities which they can ill afford." UUK's role was acknowledged by others in that debate and reflected in the Better Regulation Task Force's findings in July 2002.

Diana Warwick
Chief executive
Universities UK

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