HE funding question must be answered urgently


23rd February 2011

Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce has today called for a speedy decision to be made on future Higher Education funding to prevent long-term damage being done to the Scottish economy. The question of how Scotland's universities should be funded in the future is currently the subject of a consultation by the Scottish Government, which has identified a number of potential options.   The Chamber has submitted a response to the consultation, and has said that the only viable option is for the Scottish Government to maintain primary responsibility for funding but with some additional graduate contribution. 

Alan Mitchell, Chief Executive of Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce, said: 'It is absolutely vital that funding levels for Scottish institutions remains broadly comparable with their English counterparts, or the sector's long-established reputation for excellence will be at risk and its ability to compete for the best talent will be undermined. Unless the Scottish Government is prepared to offer higher education the same commitment to maintain spending levels that it appears to be willing to offer the NHS, then overall funding for the sector will inevitably fall unless graduates are required to make a financial contribution. We take the view that the minimum contribution that should be sought is £3,000 per term. That, allied with high levels of direct funding from the Scottish Government, should allow our universities to remain competitive. But, of course, the less direct support the Scottish Government provides, the bigger the contribution required from students.'

Mr Mitchell added: 'The Scottish Government has suggested that more efficiency savings by the universities and more support from the business community could be a viable option, but we think it is wholly unrealistic to expect either of them to plug the massive spending gap that is set to emerge over the next four years. We are confident that the two Dundee-based universities are already driving forward operational efficiencies and economies, while business support for the sector

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