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Welsh budget cuts threaten to unravel a decade of progress

The university funding proposals in front of the Welsh government would hobble research and cost more jobs than closing the Port Talbot steel works, says Philip Gummett

The Welsh government, which funds higher education in Wales, faces extraordinarily difficult choices. The government has been underfunded since devolution in 1999, compounded now by Westminster’s austerity. Not surprisingly, Welsh higher education has not been as well funded as that in the rest of the UK.

Last December, this debate was electrified when the Welsh government proposed a 32 per cent budget cut for the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales. Research funding is £79 million a year. If HEFCW sticks to its policy of maintaining research funding levels, the proposed cut will leave it just £8m for other strategic priorities in the 2016-17 academic year, compared with £70m in 2015-16.

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