The Budget 2010

24 March 2010

Dr Wendy Piatt, Director General of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities said: 

“We welcome the fact that no further cuts to the higher education and research budgets have been signalled in the Budget; this is particularly crucial at a time when our competitors in Europe, Asia and the US are investing heavily in their higher education and research institutions as a way out of recession.  We are pleased that Government has recognised that universities and their research are critically important to enabling our economy to emerge more rapidly from recession.

“Russell Group universities and the HE sector in general have done ‘their fair share of belt-tightening’ with £1bn of cuts previously announced, but for the moment at least it looks as if we have some time to find ways of adjusting to the present funding situation.

“We are pleased that the Government has guaranteed that the 20,000 extra student places will be funded from additional money and not taken from other parts of the HE budget. However, maintaining the quality of teaching, learning and research remains our principal concern.  With the present Government’s spending plans only running to March 2011 and a general election just a few weeks away, we would urge the next Government proactively to support the UK’s world class universities which are its ticket out of the current economic difficulties and to the country’s future prosperity.

“We welcome the proposed £35 million University Enterprise Capital Fund to support university innovation and spin-out companies and we would hope that the fund could help solve some of problems that major research universities face in commercialising their excellent research. Research universities are drivers of innovation and play a vital role in enabling British companies to exploit new technologies.

“The extension to £2million of the Enterpreneurs Relief from Capital Gains Tax is also welcome and will help university spin-out companies to secure long-term investment.  Supporting the growth and success of knowledge-based companies, especially those based on world-class university research, will be critically important in driving the UK's future economic growth.

A recent report by The Russell Group gave examples of breakthroughs at Russell Group universities which have generated nearly £2bn in revenue, clearly showing that investment in leading research is an indispensible component of the UK’s economic competitiveness, and the key to its future growth.”

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