Welsh repair damage of past cuts

March 20, 1998

Strong teaching institutions have come out on top in the Welsh funding allocations for 1998-99, as the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales attempts to repair the damage done by last year's heavy cuts.

The outcome of the exercise, distributing just over Pounds 240 million between 14 institutions, has a polarised look.

Seven institutions have cash increases of 4.5 per cent or more compared to 1997-98, while four , Aberystwyth, Bangor, Swansea and Trinity, Carmarthen - receive the safety net level of 1.8 per cent, which, with inflation projected by the counil at 2.8 per cent, equates to the Dearing recommended maximum real terms cut of 1 per cent.

The safety-netted quartet, which receive just more than Pounds 500,000 extra between them, have been warned that there is no guarantee of such money in future years.

A similar warning was issued last year, when safety-netting was more than Pounds 2 million.

John Andrews, chief executive of HEFCW, said: "We would like to have put more money into research, but after the cuts fell so heavily on teaching last year, we had to make that a priority."

Pressures this year were eased by an extra Pounds 10 million allotted to HEFCW by the Welsh Office last autumn.

Cardiff, caught in the general squeeze last year after doing well in the research assessment exercise, benefits from this year's modest growth.

Professor Andrews said that it was difficult to forecast future trends in advance of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

As joint chief executive of the two Welsh funding councils he is considerably less enthusiastic about the forthcoming further education allocations, projected as a 10.7 per cent real terms cut, in his words "a cor blimey efficiency gain".

Nostable_xy Scottish Higher Education Funding Council Main formula grants for 1997-98 and 1998-99 (excluding tuition fees)

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