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Austerity policies damage HE

Des Freedman of Goldsmiths UCU spoke to our branch last year.  He now asks for our support for a letter to be published in Times Higher or Guardian, opposing austerity policies and their impact on HE.

Des writes:  “I am contacting you in relation to the call for a People’s Assembly Against Austerity. The initial letter backing the call is here.

“It already has widespread support. I am contacting you because it would be very valuable to supplement this with support from people working inside higher education. This is especially important in light of the impact of cuts and privatisation, key elements of the austerity agenda, on the fabric of university life in the UK.

“I am asking you to add your name to the list of signatories to a letter that we hope to place in the Times Higher or the Guardian. The hope is that we can co-ordinate a sizeable group of university staff who can add their voice to the growing opposition to austerity and its effects.

“I hope I can rely on your support. Please feel free to circulate this amongst colleagues who you believe may also wish to add their names and to publicise this on blogs and other media. 


Messages indicating support can be returned to 

Please provide your full title when replying.

Many thanks and best wishes


 Draft letter

We are a group of people working in higher education who are increasingly alarmed by the government’s austerity programme and increasingly determined to campaign against it.

The government has introduced the most-far reaching programme of cuts and austerity for some 90 years. We have seen pay cuts across the public sector, the marketisation of the National Health Service and swingeing cuts in welfare, public services and housing including, most recently, the ‘bedroom tax’ – all of which will hit the poorest section of the population the hardest.

In higher education, we have seen the trebling of tuition fees, the scrapping of public funds for the teaching of arts, humanities and social sciences and a general emphasis on reorienting universities to be places where ‘customers’ learn only how to be ‘employable’. Latest figures show that applications for undergraduate places in 2013 are down by 7% on 2011 and the Million+ think tank recently argued that the economic cost of higher tuition fees is actually 6.5 times greater than any potential savings to the Treasury.

In response to the disastrous austerity policies of the government, a number of unions, anti-cuts organisations and individuals have supported the call for a People’s Assembly against Austerity that aspires to build a movement for social justice and to coordinate a strategy for resistance to the cuts. We urge you to join us in Westminster Central Hall on Saturday 22 June 2013.


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