Universities seek pounds 3bn for renovations

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Indy Politics
(First Edition)

BRITISH universities are asking the Government for a pounds 3.2bn 'rise' to deal with a backlog of crumbling buildings. A high proportion of university buildings went up in the 1960s boom and are now deteriorating, writes Donald MacLeod.

The Committee of Vice Chancellors and Principals, which represents the heads of all British universities, said yesterday that thousands of additional lecture and seminar places were needed to cope with the 80 per cent expansion of student numbers since 1979. Investment in libraries and student accommodation was also vital.

The committee is also concerned that lecturers' pay has failed to keep pace with teachers in schools and other non-manual earnings. The Association of University Teachers' council, which opened yesterday in Weston-super-Mare, will hear strong condemnation of the 1.5 per cent pay offer reluctantly accepted by the association's executive this year.

Universities would need pounds 1.35bn to clear the backlog of maintenance identified in independent surveys, according to the vice chancellors' submission to the Government's annual public expenditure survey. Only pounds 188m of this is in the 'new' universities, the former polytechnics, which were more successful in making a case for capital investment in the past.

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