HEFCE report on the financial health of the HE sector

15 March 2013

Commenting on the HEFCE report into future financial challenges Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group, said:

“Students, funders and industrial partners want to be confident that the universities they are investing in are efficient and financially strong.

“However, as HEFCE’s report demonstrates, universities are currently operating and planning in an uncertain environment, where there are limited guarantees as to future Government funding.  There are also uncertainties as regards international student numbers, the impact of the economic recession on access to capital and the requirement to make further provision for pension funds. 

“With the Government investing less in capital projects it has become vital that universities are able to build up essential cash reserves in order to invest in the world-class research and teaching infrastructure which is vital to drive economic growth both nationally and internationally. 

“All over the UK, Russell Group universities are investing in capital projects to deliver new research facilities, teaching buildings and student accommodation.  These projects represent major investment in the UK’s infrastructure, and are sustaining and creating jobs at a time of slow economic growth.

“In many cities, universities are major employers at a time when jobs are being lost elsewhere in the public and private sectors.  Spending by students also supports other investment and employment in the local economy.”
 
Notes to editors

  1. Russell Group universities are responsible for supporting over 270,000 jobs UK-wide and are a major UK export industry with overseas earning worth around £3.5 billion per annum.
  2. A recent report by Oxford Economics found that international students in Sheffield are responsible for pumping over £120 million into Sheffield’s economy over a single year.
  3. The University of Liverpool is investing a further £65 million in new student accommodation as part of its commitment to providing a world-class student experience. The investment is part of an overall £600 million campus investment. The student population is extremely important to the city – students contribute around £300 million to Liverpool’s economy every year.
  4. An Oxford Economics report for the University of Birmingham found the university generated £897 million of spending in Birmingham and more than £1 billion of spending in the West Midlands region in 2011/12.

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