Stormont screws University of Ulster to the wall. Students beware!

To deal with this in-year position the Senior Executive Team (SET) with the endorsement of the Resources Committee of Council have agreed to:

*       Cut recurrent expenditure over which we have control by 8% (except for the library allocation and the grant to the students’ union,
which have been protected).
*       Transfer £900k of the one-off grant of £2.7 million that we received last year and are using as a research challenge fund,
to meet part of this year’s required cut in staffing expenditure.
*       Achieve the remaining £1.1 million required saving in the staffing budget by tight control over the approval of replacement posts.

SET members will lead the budget considerations, adjusted action plans and forward planning for their areas of responsibility in line with the above
agreed actions.

Since 2011 the Stormont Executive have already cut university budgets substantially with Ulster being required to absorb cuts of c£12million.

Colleagues should note that universities in Northern Ireland now receive an average of at least £1,500 less per year (grant plus fees),
for each student than do universities in England.
And over £2,000 less per year for each student in some subject areas.
This is a serious underinvestment in the future of our young people by the Stormont Executive.
Additionally, universities in Northern Ireland do not receive charitable rate relief as do universities in England,
and we have to pay more through our access agreement.

Overall Ulster receives some £20 million less per year than we would if we operated in England,
with the obvious implications for our ability to compete with them.
Whilst we have taken action to deal with the current situation, the Stormont budget will be cut further next year if welfare reform is not implemented.
We cannot ignore this possibility and are considering options for dealing with future cuts.
I will keep you informed about this, but further restructuring is likely to be required.

Politics is about choice and it is not for us to comment on the merits or otherwise of welfare reform.  But choices have consequences.
And a consequence of the decisions at Stormont is that there is now serious underinvestment in the future of our young people.
Those consequences may not be evident immediately but they will be before long.