WONKHE: The year ahead: politics and the post-18 review

  • Andrew Westwood

Press/Media: Research


It’s going to be a very difficult year. Brexit will finally happen (with or without a deal) and with or without any meaningful consideration of its impact on universities, research or on students. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s a Spending Review that looks particularly challenging. The NHS has already been unveiled as the main winner and there are plenty of other departments already batting for extra investment – but education doesn’t look like one of them and seems much more likely to be a policy area where savings will have to be found.  

While the Augar Review might see some good news for students – perhaps a return of grants, reduced interest rates and at least some lower fees – the ONS Review of student loan accounting looks likely to reinforce a significant cut in funding for universities. Maintaining the unit of resource is unlikely to win arguments in the Treasury or with the wider public. Any cuts may be partly balanced out by increased funding for technical education at higher levels and for targeted investment supporting the Industrial Strategy, but for many universities this will be small comfort.  Nor are they likely to find much encouragement from the possibility of a change in Prime Minister. While no one would rule out a General Election or any number of leadership contests in the coming year, it’s hard to see any new faces prioritising university income amidst ongoing political and economic uncertainty.

Period3 Sep 2018

Media contributions


Media contributions


  • higher education
  • education policy