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Welsh budget cuts will inhibit its competitiveness, argue universities.

The Welsh government’s proposed public spending cuts are likely to be far greater than announced and will “put at risk” higher education’s role in boosting the economy, according to Universities Wales.

Up to £61 million could be slashed from the budget of the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, states Universities Wales in its response to a consultation on the draft budget proposals. The Welsh government has announced cuts of £42 million but these relate to the financial year rather than the academic year. Analysis by Universities Wales suggests that, taking into account expected in-year cuts, the funding council would have just £88 million to allocate in 2016-17. It warns that this “major reduction” in funding will force the funding council to choose between funding for specific areas such as part-time provision, high-cost subjects and quality research. Redirecting university funding to the tuition fee grant “does not work”, it says.

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