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University funding cuts could leave us lagging behind - Huppert

February 2, 2010 1:55 PM
Julian Huppert

Julian Huppert

Controversial government plans for a massive £449 million cut in university budgets has been condemned by Julian Huppert, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Cambridge.

He fears the cuts which will slice £215 million from teaching budgets and freeze research funding, could leave Britain lagging behind the rest of the world.

"This is an ill-thought out and highly risky strategy which could have far reaching effects for years to come," warned Julian. "The government is displaying a panic, knee-jerk reaction to the financial mess it finds itself in; but this is not the answer.

"These cuts come at a time when America, most of Europe and the Scandinavian countries are investing in education. It is vital that we provide the best we can for our young people; they are our future. But this government is in danger of leaving us lagging behind the rest of the world with a second rate education system. Students already have to face fees and debt - surely we can't give them a worse education as well?"

Julian added that a freeze on research funding could seriously damage vital projects that allow Britain to lead the way in certain fields.

"Rather than freezing research funding, what we need to do is to ensure that it is easy for bright researchers, strong research departments and projects of strategic importance to be able to attract funding more easily," he said. "The sheer amount of effort that goes into writing grant applications is far too great, especially given the very low success rates.

"The Research Councils often control too tightly what research areas they fund, and this can make it hard for some areas to innovate. The Lib Dems propose the creation of a Strategic Research Capacity Fund to assist with research that is not currently well developed."