The Funding Gap in Welsh HE

Data from HEFCW show that from 2000-2001 to 2008-2009 (the years of abundant spending in other Welsh public sectors), with one small exception, it has been the policy of the Welsh Government to underfund the Welsh Universities, compared with those in England and Scotland. The Learned Society of Wales believes that attention must be drawn to this Funding Gap, with a view to persuading the Government, first, to recognise that the Welsh Universities are under-funded and, second, to rectify the position through the provision of resources at an appropriate level. Between March and October 2011, through its President, Sir John Cadogan and with the support of its Council, the Society has therefore engaged in correspondence with the Minister for Education and Skills, Leighton Andrews AM, about the funding of our Universities.

Copies of the following letters are reproduced in the attached paper, published by the Society on 18 October 2011:

• Sir John Cadogan to Leighton Andrews AM, 16 March 2011
• Leighton Andrews AM to Sir John Cadogan, 14 June 2011
• Sir John Cadogan to Leighton Andrews AM, 8 July 2011
• Leighton Andrews AM to Sir John Cadogan, 25 August 2011
• Sir John Cadogan to Leighton Andrews AM, 12 October 2011

Also reproduced is a copy of the paper on the Funding Gap, Comments of the Council of the Learned Society of Wales on the Welsh Assembly Government’s support for the Universities in Wales , which was issued by the Society on 1 March 2011. The paper concludes:

“Continued weakening of the Welsh universities on top of a decade of poor support from WAG will reduce their attraction to students and hence loss of income. It will also reduce their attraction to staff and hence loss of excellence thus reducing their attraction to external funding bodies who are interested only in excellence. All will result in further erosion of our key National knowledge base and so on in a downward spiral which holds out little support for the belief that Wales is to be a small but clever Nation.”

The President’s letters were drafted in consultation with the members of the Society’s Council and, during its meeting on 12 October 2011, the Council unanimously resolved that the entire correspondence should be published.

The Funding Gap Learned Society of Wales Correspondence with the Minister for Education and Skills 2011