Scottish higher education chiefs have called for a moratorium on funding cuts until after the Dearing inquiry reports.
The Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals, which today holds its annual conference on standards in higher education, warned that two more years of cuts would do irreparable damage. Funding is set to fall from Pounds 658 million in 1996/97 to Pounds 650 million in 1998/99.
COSHEP, in its public spending submission to the Scottish Office, says Dearing could provide longer-term answers to basic funding problems, but that is no comfort to institutions already suffering serious difficulties. The cuts should therefore be halted until Dearing's conclusions can be assessed.
The principals ask to be allowed to compare notes with the Scottish funding council before both bodies lodge their Public Expenditure Survey submissions. The council's advice to the Scottish Office is confidential and COSHEP feels hampered by the secrecy, which prevents its making "common cause".