A report by the Wales Audit Office which shows a 24% increase in the costs of capping tuition fees in Wales has been described as 'shocking' and 'scathing' by Welsh Conservatives. Shadow Education Minister Angela Burns says:
Costs were grossly under-estimated and based on wildly unreliable variables, the policy continues to siphon off tens of millions of pounds to English universities and as the report clearly states, the cap on student numbers could deny Welsh-domiciled students the chance to study at Welsh universities.
Labour’s tuition fee subsidy has completely failed to widen access to higher education, has starved Welsh universities of vital funding and has made it more difficult for our higher education sector to compete in the global race.
– Angela Burns AM, Shadow Education Minsiter
Labour Ministers have now cynically tried to take the heat out of this report by rushing out their announcement of a review into HE funding, albeit with no terms of reference or detail and purely simple-minded responses to key questions.
We hope Labour Ministers will study the detailed recommendations of this report, learn the lessons of their sloppy, rushed policymaking and change the timetable of their drawn-out review of HE funding to permit a public debate ahead of the 2016 election.