Building a Modern Britain

24 Mar 2024

As Britain heads towards a General Election, it’s important to recognise the vital contributions that universities up and down the country are making within their communities, regions and for the country.

It is no secret that universities are heading into the election period facing some significant challenges including financial uncertainty, with budgetary pressures on multiple fronts: the existing tuition fee model coupled with high inflation sees their income fall year-on-year and having to do more with less; their pension costs are rising sharply; and post-Brexit arrangements remain up in the air, with no clarity on replacement research and innovation funds. Universities are also grappling with a review of international students and the graduate route, new challenges with franchise provision, an underfunded apprenticeship system and are still dealing with the impacts of COVID-19 and the need to adapt teaching and research methods.

However, despite these challenges, universities across the UK continue to deliver the skilled workforce, translational research, economic growth, aspirational opportunities, and life-chances that are crucial to the future success of this country. Nowhere is this truer than at modern universities, which are some of the UK’s greatest assets in driving growth, social mobility and addressing the broad challenges facing Britain.

To ensure modern universities can continue to deliver world-class teaching and research against a mountain of pressures, to support their local communities and local people and to maintain a prosperous higher education sector into the new parliament and beyond, they need the support and backing from the Government.

To support higher education, and modern universities in particular, to continue to deliver for the future success of a modern Britain, an incoming Government should implement policies across five priority areas:

In summary:

  • Work with modern universities to deliver the essential public services workforce on which the country depends.
  • Put modern universities at the very heart of the skills agenda in every region.
  • Acknowledge, value and invest in innovative and impactful research, wherever it is found.
  • Re-affirm Great Britain’s commitment to be a world-leading destination for higher education.
  • Invest in universities and students so they have a solid foundation from which to succeed.

Download Bulding a modern Britain manifesto »