The job would end the free market of higher education, says Rayner Education


A Labor government would put an end to the "failed free market experiment in higher education", by taking a stricter line on vice-chancellor salaries and by improving academic diversity, the shadow education secretary is ready to announce.

Angela Rayner will outline a series of important policy measures that would allow lawmakers to intervene on the way universities are run in England, including how they recruit and reward staff.

Speaking at the conference of the university and university (UCU) on Saturday, Rayner will say: "The obsession of Tories with the dogma of the free market has gone too far. public good and should be treated as such, our universities are there for us all. "

Under Labor the Office for Students (OFS) would see its role heavily revised, repealing the legislation that forces it to promote competition and replacing it with a new need for cooperation between institutions.

Rayner will also present a new policy to improve the ethnic diversity of staff in higher education, with the reformed regulator giving specific powers to address inequality as part of Labor's plans for a national educational service.

"Like most of our establishment, our universities are too masculine, pale and stale and do not represent the communities they serve or modern Britain," Rayner will say.

"Women and staff from ethnic minorities are chronically underrepresented in all these institutions, particularly at the highest levels.

"Universities have to do a lot more, and under work they will be taken into consideration".

The regulator would be obliged to impose a commitment to a 20: 1 salary ratio among the highest and lowest paid staff in the universities, while the vice-chancellors would be forbidden to sit on the commissions fixing their salary.

Sources say that Labor has not ruled out the demolition of the OFS and its replacement if the regulator is unable to adapt, with Rayner stating that the OFS is "unfit for purpose".

Rayner's speech will also take the statements of the Minister of Higher Education Chris Skidmore, who said that some institutions "could come out of the market entirely due to strong competition" and that greater choice for students "is not the same to support a particular provider ".

In the last year, a number of universities have announced multi-million pound deficits and have to cut their budgets and staff due to ruthless competition for students.

"These are not for-profit private companies that can simply be left to the mercy of market forces, ministers can not simply bury their heads in the sand when we are faced with losing some of these vital institutions," says Rayner.

"Students would be left with immense uncertainty about their future and entire communities would lose one of their major academic, economic and social institutions in the event of bankruptcy."

Under Labor, the regulator would set an explicit target to avoid the bankruptcy of any higher education institution in England, and given the power to grant emergency loans and replace senior management in the event of serious difficulties.

Matt Waddup, head of UCU policy, said: "Angela Rayner is right to point out the damage that this government's marketing agenda is doing to further and higher education.

"While students and staff are critical to the social and economic future of this country, their views are routinely ignored by both ministers and SFOs."

The Labor position means that the OFS could have a relatively short duration, having only come to light last year. His first days were assailed by the difficulty, thanks to the controversy over the appointment of Toby Young to his council, and he was slow to fulfill some of his main obligations.

In response, Skidmore said, "I have yet to find a vice-chancellor who supports Labor's plans to harm the industry and reduce progress over the past few years.

"Under the conservatives there are more young people aged 18 than in higher education than ever, including more students from disadvantaged backgrounds who are the first in their family to go to the university."



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