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Expenditure on education and research, but not student support


Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced that the Government will maintain the current research and development budget, which is set to rise to £20 billion by 2024/25, to make the UK a “science superpower”.

Universities have welcomed the chancellor’s re-engagement with Tim Bradshaw, chief executive Russell groupcalling it “a clear signal of intent.”

“This is a huge and well-deserved vote of confidence, highlighting the potential of the ideas-based economy to drive growth, create high-value jobs and attract other investment in skills and infrastructure,” he said.

But students in the UK are frustrated that they won’t get any extra support to help them cope rising costswhen Hunt set out a targeted scheme to subsidize energy bills for people with certain benefits.

“There was a lot of silence about students and education after the age of 16”

“For a budget that claims to prioritize education, it is remarkably silent on students and post-16 education,” said Chloe Field, vice-president of higher education at National Union of Students.

“Everything [students] asked for enough support to weather the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades, but again they were completely ignored.”

Rachel Hewitt, Executive Director a million pluswhich represents 22 UK universities, said it was “deeply concerned” that students were not protected from rising prices.

“Jeremy Hunt is right in his assessment that investment in education is investment in growth and it would be tragic if the cost of living was a barrier to anyone taking up the opportunity to learn and improve their skills.”

In the Autumn Statement, the chancellor also unveiled an extra £2.3 billion a year in spending on schools.

“I’m glad to see more funding for schools – they need it. But the failure to extend this to colleges is devastating,” said David Hughes, chief executive Association of Colleges.

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