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UU chief says 'critical' funding cuts are imminent


Ulster University is set to face “critical” funding cuts, according to its Vice-Chancellor.

In a letter to politicians, Professor Paddy Nixon says the university has been advised by the Department of Economy it faces a 3.5% cut in 2018/19, and a 4.5% cut in 2019/20.

Taking account of the 2% cut in 2017/18, it works out at a 10% cut in funding over three years.

The letter, which was seen by the BBC, has been sent to the leaders of Sinn Fein, the DUP, the SDLP, the UUP and the Alliance Party, as well as Secretary of State James Brokenshire and the UK Universities Minister Jo Johnson.

In the letter, Professor Nixon said: “Whilst the current situation is unsustainable, the prospect of further cuts communicated by the department has turned a serious situation into a critical one.”

For 2016/17 Ulster University received core funding from the Northern Ireland Executive of £70.8m.

The cuts come at a time when Ulster University is already facing the potential loss of £17.5m in EU funding after Britain leaves the European Union.

Earlier this week it was revealed the development of a £250m Belfast campus by Ulster University had been put back by a year, with the predicted completion date for the building work now the end of 2019.

Sinn Fein Further and Higher Education spokesperson Caoimhe Archibald has said universities should be sustainably resourced.

Ms Archibald said: “Since the Tories came into power we have seen over a billion pounds cut from the North’s block grant and students and young people are paying the price for this.

“These cuts to public services are set to continue, supported by the DUP.

“Any cuts to universities is a threat to our highly educated workforce and the future opportunities of our young people.

“Sinn Fein will continue to fight for proper resources for universities.”

Belfast Telegraph