Share DEBATE: Do we need a government rescue plan to save UK universities? Some argue that a bailout would be a form of investment because of the contribution that higher education makes to economic growth. But it is not the case that more students spending more time in higher education equals higher GDP (Switzerland shows otherwise) — it is simply that only rich countries can afford to have so many students. The real function of higher education is not to make people more productive but to send a signal to employers and so regulate the labour market. Jo GradyJo Grady is general secretary of theUniversity and College Union and Dr Steve DaviesDr Stephen Davies is head of education at the Institute of Economic Affairs The news in this latest report from the Institute of Fiscal Studies is no more encouraging. Now, the government must step in and protect our universities. In light of the new IFS report, do we need a government rescue plan to save UK universities? by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeOne-N-Done | 7-Minute Workout7 Minutes a Day To a Flat Stomach By Using This 1 Easy ExerciseOne-N-Done | 7-Minute WorkoutNoteableyJulia Robert’s Daughter Turns 16 And Looks Just Like Her MomNoteableyDefinitionThe 20 Worst Draft Picks Ever – Ryan Leaf Doesn’t Even Crack The Top 5DefinitionGloriousaMan Says He’s From 2030, Presents ProofGloriousaMisterStoryWoman files for divorce after seeing this photoMisterStoryFinanceChatterViewers Had To Look Away When This Happened On Live TVFinanceChatterbonvoyaged.comTotal Jerks: These Stars Are Horrible People.bonvoyaged.comDaily FunnyFemale Athlete Fails You Can’t Look Away FromDaily FunnyJustPerfact USAMan Decides to File for Divorce After Taking a Closer Look at This Photo! JustPerfact USA Higher education is a classic example of a sector that has over expanded and invested in a product with declining value. The time is ripe for reconstruction and retrenchment, not bailout. Opinion The government’s failure to act so far has already seen universities look into sacking staff, with casual staff and those from BAME backgrounds suffering the most. We need a comprehensive support package that protects jobs, preserves our academic capacity, and guarantees all universities’ survival. It has been months since our own research identified a funding black hole for universities of around £2.5bn in income lost from tuition fees and teaching grants. Such is the importance of higher education institutions to their local economies that our report warned of a total economic cost of more than £6bn from the reduced economic activity generated by universities. This is not a case of financially sound institutions being temporarily exposed by an unexpected shock — many were already in a precarious position before the crisis began. The pandemic has uncovered a pre-existing problem and accelerated it. Calls for the government to bail out higher education should be resisted. Tuesday 7 July 2020 12:17 pm Dr Stephen Davies, head of education at the Institute of Economic Affairs, says NO. Universities have been hit hard by the impact of Covid-19 (Getty Images) City A.M.’s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M. 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Universities have been hit hard by the impact of Covid-19 (Getty Images) Also Read: DEBATE: Do we need a government rescue plan to save UK universities? Put simply, if we don’t support our universities, jobs, courses and opportunity will go. We will be actively weakening the very institutions that we will need to help lead the recovery from the Covid-19 crisis. More on the University and College Union’s Fund The Future campaign can be found here. whatsapp Show Comments ▼ whatsapp Jo Grady, general secretary of the University and College Union, says YES.