Press release

MillionPlus outlines key priorities ahead of the Spring Budget

09 Mar 2023

MillionPlus, the Association for Modern Universities, has today (9 March) called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to commit to six policies ahead of the Spring Budget statement on 15 March, including on maintenance funding, health and social care training placements and research investment.

MillionPlus calls on the Government to:

  • Increase maintenance funding for students, ideally through grants, and ensure students are included in any further cost-of-living measures introduced. The Government should also conduct a review of maintenance loan support to allow them to be adjusted with inflation when higher than forecast.
  • Extend the existing Energy Bill Relief Scheme for 12 months to support universities through this challenging period.
  • Boost teacher recruitment and retention by applying an in-year uplift to initial teacher training bursaries to help tackle these concerns while prioritising the strategic planning of bursaries for future years.
  • Invest in expanding nursing clinical training placements in the NHS and social care to enable a pipeline of skilled workers.
  • Alleviate workforce shortages by exploring fee-loan forgiveness for trainee teachers and nurses.
  • Focus R&D investment on supporting regional economic growth, for example through the Higher Education Innovation Fund and the Shared Prosperity Fund. Securing full UK access to the Horizon scheme should be a Government priority.

Rachel Hewitt, Chief Executive if MillionPlus, said:

“Modern universities make up over half of the UK’s higher education sector, educating over a million students a year and make a huge contribution to their regional economies as anchor institutions, generating £17bn in expenditure-related gross value add as a result of their economic activity. These institutions are also drivers of social mobility and an important cog in the Government’s levelling up agenda. In addition, they train the overwhelming majority of backbone public service professionals such as nurses and teachers.

“A winter marked by industrial discord and cost of living pressures is receding and the country looks forward to sunnier times, but numerous factors are still impacting finances at a national and household level. This Spring Budget offers an opportunity for the Government to make a statement and demonstrate its seriousness when it comes to fairness, boosting public services and investing in growth.”


Notes to editors

  1. For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Dan Blows on 020 3927 2916 or email
  2. MillionPlus’s Spring Budget priorities document is attached to this email and will be available online here
  3. Who trains the nurses? Universities and the placements shortfall is attached to this email and will be available online 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 2022