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Reverse business tax cuts to plug higher education funding gap

16 March 2011

UCU Scotland has called for a greater contribution from business to fund higher education. Ahead of a major announcement on higher education funding in the Scottish Parliament, UCU argued that last year's business tax cut should be reversed and the money used to fund higher education.

UCU welcomed the Scottish government's commitment to delivering a new funding settlement and said it believed the gap between English and Scottish universities can be plugged without forcing students to pay tuition fees. While higher education funding was slashed by £70m last year, the Scottish government cut local business tax from 48.1% to 40.7% at a cost to the country of £200m.

The union said it welcomed calls yesterday from CBI Scotland for politicians to take hard decisions to safeguard Scottish universities. However, UCU said business should finally start to pay its fair share for the many benefits it received from higher education, rather than forcing graduates to foot the bill.

UCU Scottish official, Mary Senior, said: 'The parties have to look properly at the many benefits business gets from our higher education system, but how little it contributes towards it. Business rates should be increased to recoup the £200m stripped from the Scottish budget last year and that money used in areas which benefit the economy, such as higher education. For too long business has been enjoying the benefits of higher education without paying its share.'

Last updated: 11 December 2015