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Unions warn of the Tories' ‘back door cuts’ to colleges and universities

UNIONS and Labour warned today that the government is planning millions of pounds of “back door cuts” to colleges and universities.

The University and College Union (UCU) has warned that workers are worried that possible cuts to pension funding could see institutions footing a £300 million bill.

The concerns come from employers having to raise their contributions to the Teachers Pension Scheme (TPS) from 16.48 per cent to 23.6 per cent, following the government’s announcement that it would be reducing the rate which it pays.

The government’s decision to delay discussions on future education spending to next year’s review has also left institutions feeling unstable.

UCU head of policy and campaigns Matt Waddup said: “The government needs to confirm that all colleges and universities will be given extra funding to offset these additional costs.

“Too often the message from this government is that they are relaxed about the negative effect of their policies upon the education sector, but students and staff will feel the very real impact of these cuts unless there is action now to stop them.”

Labour shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said: “In the Budget, the Chancellor insulted schools with his offer of ‘little extras,’ but he didn’t even offer that to further education colleges struggling to stay afloat.

“If they are left to pick up the bill for this Treasury shortfall, further cuts taking hundreds of millions of pounds out of college and university budgets will have a hugely damaging impact on students.”

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