Press release

MillionPlus comment on the Queen’s Speech

11 May 2021

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has today (11 May) commented on the Queen’s Speech delivered at the State Opening of Parliament which outlined the UK government’s legislative programme for this parliamentary term.

Dr Greg Walker, Chief Executive of MillionPlus, said:

“The inclusion of items of legislation related to higher education is of no surprise and has been trailered with the sector for some time.

“We are pleased to see the inclusion of the Skills and Post-16 Education bill for consideration by parliament in this session. MillionPlus has long called for a more flexible approach to access to student loans for high quality HE courses and for positive measures be put in place to help learners of all ages to progress to and benefit from HE. Modern universities are a backbone of local economic growth in our towns and cities, boosting socially mobility by providing quality higher education, including higher technical education, across the whole of the UK. Modern universities will be key players in helping the government build back better in a post-Covid landscape. 

“A bill to establish a new research agency is part of the UK government's pledge to invest of 2.4% of GDP in research, development and innovation by 2027. Modern universities are drivers of research and innovation nationally and locally, and have played a vital role during the pandemic. To realistically meet its R&D pledge, investment in ARIA mustn’t be to the detriment of other research funding commitments - it should be funded with truly additional resource. Just as important as ARIA for Britain’s future ability to innovate and prosper are the government’s plans for a new Shared Prosperity Fund, which will direct much-needed research and innovation investment to areas in need of levelling up. I hope the government will set out in detail its approach to this critical-  but much-delayed - Fund before the summer recess. Time is now of the essence on this.”


Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 3927 2916 or email
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. Modern universities: facts and stats