Communication from the VC in March 2010 (HEFCE)
Re: HEFCE grant 2010/2011
At the beginning of the year I wrote to you all following the announcement of funding cuts in the University sector. At that time we were unsure how these reductions in public funding would be implemented.
Last week we received our annual grant letter from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), which provides us with details of this University's recurrent grant for 2010/11. The HEFCE recurrent grant accounts for around a third of our annual income. We have also just received similar information for all English higher education institutions that tells us more about the impacts of reduced public funds on higher education across the UK.
The full implications of the information from HEFCE are being analysed in more detail, but I wanted to share with you the headline facts as soon as possible.
The HEFCE letter confirms that our overall recurrent grant funding for next year (2010/11) will reduce slightly by 0.05% compared to 2009/10. This is in line with our expectations, reflects the position in our financial forecasts and compares against a sector average increase of 0.4%. However, it still presents us with considerable challenges because after inflation has been factored in, it means a larger decrease in real terms. This re-emphasises the need for us all to focus on finding efficiencies to reduce costs, and to pursue opportunities to increase income from other non-HEFCE sources.
The news from HEFCE is a key milestone in our planning for next academic year. However, there remain many uncertainties ahead of us - not least because of the Government budget announcement on 24 March and potential changes to government spending plans after the General Election. HEFCE have reserved the right to make adjustments later in the year. So, further announcements about higher education funding might well be made over the coming months.
As I explained at my recent annual Address to Staff, I believe that we must take a proactive approach in the face of reduced public funding and the widespread expectation of further cuts in public funding across the board. We need to continue to place priority on the University's key strengths of scholarship, the impact of our people, and the student experience. I am also convinced that the best way for us all to deal with the tough decisions ahead is to reassert our fundamental values: those things we all wish to promote and defend about the University. Our outstanding track record as individuals and collectively gives me confidence that we will continue as a University to respond to challenges with purpose and determination.
Thank you for your continued support.
Professor Keith Burnett