Government creates 'climate of fear' as London Metropolitan University slashes 70% of courses
18 April 2011
Responding to the news that London Metropolitan University is to cut 70% of its courses in a bid for financial sustainability, UCU warned that the government's higher education funding plans would see courses and departments closed and could even put the long-term viability of some universities at risk.UCU said the government's new policy was in disarray and that cutting university teaching budgets by 80% and introducing a market in fees was a recipe for disaster. The union said that while London Met was acting disproportionately, the government had created a 'climate of fear' that was panicking institutions in to wielding the axe hastily.
UCU also pointed to the example of Liverpool Hope University, which is looking to make cuts to its teaching training department in anticipation of funding changes to teacher education.
The union further warned that many of the institutions being put at financial risk by the government's plans were those who specialised in arts and humanities courses, which will no longer receive any state funding, and universities with a track record of widening participation in higher education.
London Metropolitan University, which is the capital's largest university, is to slash courses in history, performing arts, philosophy and modern languages.
UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'Here is concrete proof that ministers have succeeded in creating a climate of fear that is panicking institutions in to making hasty cuts. London Met's decision to axe hundreds of courses is completely disproportionate, but since these enormous funding cuts were announced, UCU has repeatedly warned that university courses and departments will close and in the worst case scenarios, the future of whole institutions will be put at risk.'
'What is happening at London Met and Liverpool Hope is a worrying portent for the future under the government's new funding system. Institutions with a track record of widening participation are particularly at risk. We have said from the start these plans are a recipe for disaster.'