LSE warns Vince Cable of damage from axing teaching grant

Howard Davies, Director of the London School of Economics (LSE) and one of the UK’s best known financial service experts has released correspondence from the LSE to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) rejecting the Browne Review’s policy conclusions which the coalition government has adopted.

In a letter of 19th October 2010, Davies, and LSE Chair Peter Sutherland, describe their initial agreement with the Browne Review’s evaluation that “future [UK] economic growth and social mobility are at risk unless we continue to invest in higher education”. But the LSE was consequently “extremely concerned that the acknowledged public benefit of education disappears in [Browne’s] recommendations on the T[eaching] grant” – i.e. in the proposed teaching grant cut across all arts, humanities and social science subjects.

The LSE notes that Browne makes “no case…to suggest that the teaching of the social sciences, or indeed the humanities, are incapable of providing” the skills and knowledge that the UK needs. The LSE rejects Browne’s “apparent assumption that these skills and knowledge sets can only be delivered through the teaching of the limited number of subjects listed [by Browne]…and that only the teaching of these subjects should receive public funding.”

The LSE accepts that there is a case for a reduction in the teaching grant given the current economic context, but “that the remaining government funding for university teaching should be distributed more widely, and that the definition of priority subjects should be revisited”.

This and other correspondence from the LSE to the coalition government on related matters are available here.

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