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£940m in cuts
Finalised figures for national cuts to universities nationwide of £940m, including a 66% cut in the science capital budget, have been released.
The figures, published by the Higher Education Funding Council for England, form part of what Universities Minister David Willetts has described as “a year of transition.”
The final budget shows that in 2011-12 universities will face a 9.5% cut compared with the current academic year, including a 6% cut to teaching budgets. Capital spending for buildings and equipment will fall by 55%, and the teaching budget will be cut by £830m the following year.
Willetts commented, “Under the new higher education reforms we are putting funding in the hands of students, instead of a centrally allocated grant.”
The University has stressed that its response will not be formed until the allocation is received in March.
A spokesperson said, “While HEFCE has announced funding levels for the sector as a whole, the institution-specific funding arrangements have not been made available yet.
“Until those details become available we cannot speculate how the University will be affected. Whatever the updated arrangements, Oxford is committed to funding undergraduate teaching.”
Law student Kat Shields commented, “These cuts to higher education will make it more difficult for the next generation of Britons to compete globally, particularly in areas like science.”
Kevin Feeney, a member of the Oxford University Labour Club, told Cherwell, “This is a reckless and unnecessary proposal. The pretence of protecting the sciences while cutting funding to essential buildings and equipment is another example of the deceit of students.”
Meanwhile, Henry Evans, President of the Oxford University Conservative Association, said, “This is just a transition period from one form of funding to another. It may be difficult at first, but ultimately these decisions will improve the system of higher education in this country.”
Nationally, many universities have voiced fears over the future of research. Russell Group director general, Wendy Piatt, said, “These new cuts will make it even harder for our top universities and researchers to lead the economic recovery.”
While a spokesperson for the Department of Business, Skills and Innovation has said that the changes will provide “stability and certainty,” Labour’s universities spokesman, Gareth Thomas, called the cuts “unfair, unnecessary and unsustainable.”