Press release

Boost public services, R&D and regional economies, says MillionPlus

07 Jul 2020

Ahead of the Financial Statement by Chancellor Rt. Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has today (7 July) outlined three key areas for government attention: public services; research and development; and growing regional economies.
The impact of Covid-19 has emphasised the importance of key public services, particularly the need for a robust and resilient NHS and school system. The government should use the Financial Statement to strengthen and enhance public services education across England.
Investment in research and innovation will help deliver the government's commitment to ensuring the UK is a science superpower and will mean that the UK is able to compete for talent with other leading OECD countries.
Modern universities play a vital role in a country's economic success, leading the way in pioneering higher and degree apprenticeships that fuel innovation and provide a highly skilled workforce to enable regional growth. The government should ensure that the apprenticeship policy in England continues to place employers in the driving seat and helping them to partner with universities to ensure these opportunities are available to all, regardless of age or where they live.
The government should also consider reforming the student loans system in England to rocket boost re-training and up-skilling opportunities by allowing individuals to access loans for short HE courses, including modules at level 4 and level 5.  
Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“By targeting attention and investment in these three key strategic areas the government can go a long way to enabling a swift recovery. The pandemic has been brought starkly home how vital our key public service workers are to the country - taking steps to ensure we boost capacity and provision to deal with the fallout of the crisis are essential.

“Investment in research and in those people looking to re-train and learn new skills in regional communities will be a shot in the arm to local economies and change lives for the better.

“The impact of Covid-19 will be profound and enduring. As a new normal begins to take shape, investment in these areas is an investment in our collective future.”

Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 3927 2916 or email
  2. MillionPlus asks on Government Financial Statement is attached to this email and available online here
  3. Strengthening and enhancing UK public services in response to Covid-19 by MillionPlus is available here
  4. MillionPlus is the Association for Modern Universities in the UK, and the voice of 21st century higher education. We champion, promote and raise awareness of the essential role and impact of modern universities in the UK’s world-leading higher education sector. More information can be found at
  5. What are modern universities? Modern universities are long established centres of higher education in their communities with roots that stretch back decades, if not centuries. Many gained university title following legislation agreed by parliament in 1992. They make up almost half of the UK university sector with over a million students studying at modern universities every year. 
  6. Modern universities: facts and stats

Download MillionPlus asks on Financial Statement – July 2020 »