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British universities contribute £73bn to the economy in a year


British universities have generated more than £73 billion in a year for the economy and almost 3 per cent of all employment, a new report has revealed.

Through direct or secondary multiplier effects, higher education institutions contributed more than £73 billion in 2011-12, compared with £59 billion in 2007-08, when the findings were last published in 2009.

And for every £1 million of output generated by universities, a further £1.35 million was made in other sectors of the economy.

The study, called "The impact of universities on the UK economy", was released by Universities UK and shows the substantial contributions that higher education institutions make towards the economy.

In 2011, universities directly employed 378,250 people, which accounted for 2.7 per cent of all employment in the UK generated.

And for every 100 full-time jobs in universities, another 117 full-time-equivalent jobs were generated through knock-on effects, the report says.

The general secretary of the University and College Union, Sally Hunt, said that universities were “substantial wealth creators for their communities and the country” and they generated “vital revenue”.

She added: “Every pound of university output leads to £1.35 being generated outside the university as a result of their expenditure. Our university sector is blighted by uncertainty about future funding at the moment and, as we approach the election, all parties should study this report on the importance and impact of higher education."

Neil Carberry, the CBI director for employment and skills, said: “Universities are at the heart of the economy, delivering ground-breaking research, attracting talent to these shores and playing their part to equip young people with the skills the UK needs for the future.

“Together with better vocational training routes, universities will create the next generation of electric car designers, aircraft engineers and British tech entrepreneurs.”