UCU warns universities are trying to deliver more for less


New figures released yesterday reveal that, as student fees are set to rise to as much as £9,000-a-year, the proportion of universities’ expenditure spent on staff has fallen again.

The UCU said that universities need to invest in staff at a time when extraordinary changes to the university funding system mean students will be demanding more bang for their buck.

The figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that staff costs were 56.2% of total UK higher education institutions’ expenditure in 2010-11, down from 56.6% in the previous year, and the lowest as a proportion of HEI expenditure since HESA records began in 1994-5.

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: “Every university will say its number one resource is its staff, but with ever greater demands being made on staff it is time for universities to invest properly in that number one resource.

“Our higher education system will see huge changes this year and ministers who have done so much to talk up students as consumers need to look at where resources are going. Student numbers have increased in recent years, yet the proportion being spent on staff costs has been driven down.

“Staff and universities cannot simply deliver more for less and, in the age of the consumer, it would be foolish for government to allow them to try.”

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