A spokesperson for Universities Wales said: “Whilst there is still a lot of detail yet to examine in the draft budget, at a first glance we are seriously concerned by the cut of £41.4m or 32% in investment to universities in Wales compared to the budget for 2015/16. This is sixth successive year of major cuts to the HE budget, seeing a reduction of £365m or 81% since 2010/11. We were clear when we released our manifesto for the future Welsh Government last week that the pressures on the student funding budget will put funding to universities at risk and these cuts announced today will have severe consequences on Wales’ universities ability to continue to deliver the social and economic benefits that are vital to the people of Wales.
“We know that the next few years will be exceptionally tight for public spending, but as a nation we need to think about how we target investment on those sectors that deliver a clear return to Wales’s economy and society. Universities deliver a very high return on Assembly investment – In 2014 Welsh universities, together with the expenditure of off-campus spending by students and visitors, generated £4.6 billion of output in Wales. The higher education sector is one of Wales’ most valuable industries, creating tens of thousands of jobs and stimulating economic activity in local communities, as well as the wider Welsh economy.”
“Given these cuts are not sustainable for the sector we will be asking the Welsh Government to reconsider its position before the budget is confirmed next year.”