In response to the Office for Students announcement of the removal of the London weighting, Dr Diana Beech, Chief executive of London Higher said;
“At London Higher, the body representing over 40 universities and higher education colleges across London, we are obviously disappointed with today’s decision from the OfS to cut the London Weighting from the funding allocated to providers in the capital with immediate effect. As our recent research shows, this decision will leave several London providers on a financial cliff edge and will push at least three into the red from an otherwise comfortable position, not to mention exacerbate the difficulties of many more.
“At a time when university budgets are already stretched from the Covid-19 pandemic – including from the costs incurred for making campuses ‘Covid-secure’ and lost income from accommodation and facilities – this decision could force some London providers to implement drastic cost-saving measures, putting at risk staff jobs and student services at a time when they are most needed. It also leaves some London providers unnecessarily exposed to the impact of the pandemic on international students while uncertainty remains around the future of global travel.
“If, following this consultation, Ministers are still intent that the London Weighting must go, then we appeal to their moral compass to consider, at the very least, a three-year phase out of the funding, to give providers the best chance to adjust to the new funding levels and to mitigate damage to jobs, livelihoods and the student experience in the capital.
“The London Weighting has never represented any extra money for the capital, but has simply gone some way to meet the higher operating costs faced by providers in London and ensure students in London receive the same baseline quality of provision and services as those elsewhere in the country. Destabilising London’s higher education providers is not a means to level up the rest of the sector; rather it is recklessly levelling down London and sending a clear signal to London’s students that they no longer matter.”