Universities need an urgent financial injection to give them a fighting chance of coming out of this crisis.

A robust higher education sector will be central to getting this country through the pandemic, sustaining our public services and rebuilding the economy, but so far the government is failing to protect it.

Universities need stability: they’re doing vital research right now on vaccines, antibody tests, and tracking systems, and our country will rely on the sector to train the key workers of tomorrow.

The livelihoods of three quarters of a million people who work in higher education have been plunged into uncertainty, along with the £73 billion a year universities generate for our economy.

If some institutions are forced to cancel courses or close altogether that means jobs gone, student ambitions thwarted and our country all the poorer for it.

No MP should stand by while they teeter on the brink.

Let’s press the government to think bigger.

Write to your MP

If you’re in Cymru/Wales, we also have a template letter that will help you write to your Member of the Senedd and ask them to make sure the Welsh Government protects higher education in Wales.

What can branches do?

Higher education branches can use these template letters to ask other decision makers and influential people to back the campaign.

Why not let the vice-chancellor know about the campaign and get their support? Are there peers on your university’s governing board or working as staff? Could a council leader help defend education provision in the local community?

The template letters below are here to help so please add in details about your own institution and amend however you see fit.

Please also use these social media graphics, gifs and email headers to share the campaign far and wide.

Get the graphics

The support and solidarity of branches across the union would be very much appreciated. A vibrant higher education sector is a vital component and driver of quality public services.

Backed by Labour

“It is great that UNISON is calling for greater funding for our Higher Education Institutes. This campaign will significantly increase the pressure on the government to provide the relevant financial backing that our universities need to stop them going bust.

Our universities are fighting for their very survival at a time when they are providing so much value for our country, currently they are producing much needed support in our fight against COVID-19, with research on vaccines and testing, and by supporting students on the frontline of our NHS.

I have previously called upon the Universities Minister to provide the financial support our universities need to remain open; this government needs to protect our institutions from falling foul of bankruptcy. I am looking forward to working alongside UNISON to make this happen.”

Emma Hardy MP, Shadow FE & Universities Minister

Supported by students

We’re really pleased that the National Union of Students (NUS) is backing our campaign to protect universities for all current and future students.

“As students, we need our higher education sector to survive this crisis. Universities and colleges are not just faceless providers of a product, they are entire communities. The government must provide meaningful financial support for higher education and, in doing so, protect the jobs of workers, the future of students and the economic survival of the UK; all of which would be greatly supported by a Student Safety Net. Education is a public good and a vital service which needs to be underwritten by the Government. We are proud to stand in solidarity with UNISON and all trade unions as we defend our universities and colleges.”

Claire Sosienski Smith, NUS Vice-President, Higher Education


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