Axe and ye will be told

January 26, 1996

Was the disastrous capital allocation for universities in the last Budget a sin of omission rather than commission, to be blamed on the straightforward ignorance of Gillian Shephard, Education and Employment Secretary? The Whitehall rumour mill alleges that she believed the money all related to buildings, when most of it is in fact spent on equipment. Hence her willingness to offer up the cut to the Treasury axe men during last year's public spending round and her blithe assumption that the private finance initiative would fill the financial void.

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