Dearing says universities urgently need pounds 1bn extra

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The Independent Online
UNIVERSITIES need more money quickly if Britain is to remain competitive, Sir Ron Dearing, author of the government review of higher education, said yesterday, writes Judith Judd.

Ministers backed the findings of Sir Ron's inquiry into higher education but said that universities would have to wait until the summer for their response to his call for an extra pounds 1bn.

In his inquiry report published last July Sir Ron said that an extra pounds 350m was needed this year and a further pounds 565m next. So far the Government has offered pounds 165m this year.

Sir Ron said the money was needed partly to renew research equipment and laboratories. He said yesterday: "Unless there is a strong response by the Government, a major national asset will be severely damaged. The capital backlog for the sciences is measured in terms of hundreds of millions."

The report also said that money was needed to help pay for extra students.

Sir Ron said that the end of the limit on funded places for students was a welcome first step. "But it is only a first step. Britain must never again fall behind competitor nations as it did in the Eighties. To remain competitive over the next five years there is a clear need for more diplomats and graduates in modern enterprises both large and small."

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