A government order to impose a £400m saving scheme in universities may prompt a backlash from fee-paying students, the head of the lecturers’ union warned today.

The “efficiency” savings could consequently cause thousands of redundancies, forcing up class sizes and reducing students’ contact time with their tutors, according to Sally Hunt, the general secretary of the University of College Union (UCU).

Hunt commented on the problem that will arise from this in accordance with UCAS applicants. Since the government is promising to expand education, this has led to a huge rise in applications in the higher education sector. However, hindered by the coincidental cap on student numbers, this means that up to 30,000 qualified hopefuls could miss out.

The government is giving a 1.7% budget rise to universities next year, but they are now being told that ‘savings will have to be made.’

Hunt told the Guardian: ” I wanted there to be a proper chance to debate these issues. Job cuts are not our focus for effciency savings which are aimed at protecting frontline services.”


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