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Higher Education and Research Bill: Second Reading

Universities UK’s briefing for MPs ahead of the Second Reading debate on 19 July 2016. ​​​

The Higher Education and Research Bill fundamentally reforms the regulatory architecture of higher education in England, and the government’s research agencies that operate across the UK.

The last time such comprehensive reforms were introduced was trough the Further and Higher Education Act 1992. Accompanying the Bill is the White Paper, ‘Higher education: success as a knowledge economy’.

Universities UK supports the government's aim to protect the interests of students and to ensure universities demonstrate the value of the education which they provide. We welcome the opportunity that the White Paper and Bill provide to take stock of the landscape and consider the changes needed to support the sector’s continued success.

However, the government should seek to build on the regulatory approach currently taken where this underpins the strengths and successes of our world-class university sector. We already have a diverse and competitive sector, fostered by a relatively high degree of institutional autonomy which allows universities to act flexibly. Our universities are not standing still as they respond to long-term challenges and to students’ needs. The autonomy of our universities contributes significantly to their global success.

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