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The UK's only independent think tank devoted to higher education.

So what exactly are the manifestos promising on higher education?

  • 25 November 2019
  • By Nick Hillman

Few people bother to read entire election manifestos. Indeed, even some candidates standing for election do not read their own party’s manifesto from cover to cover.

But even though manifestos are a very far-from-perfect guide as to what will happen in the years ahead, they are important because they are the best guesses of what a party might do in office and they have a status above and beyond a regular political promise.

So here we bring together the main commitments on higher education in the new manifestos of the three biggest UK-wide parties.

There are lots of caveats – for example, the table does not include absolutely every mention of the issues that it purports to cover and even a manifesto is not the entirety of a political party’s election programme.

Moreover, we have restricted ourselves to big UK-wide parties to keep the information digestible but this means we have for now excluded the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens and the Brexit Party among others, all of whom have their own politically interesting messages on higher education.

We hope this guide is a useful aide-mémoire for those who want to know how the three biggest UK-wide parties could approach higher education if they end up in office after the election. (And, if you want to compare them to the same parties’ promises last time around, see here.)

Beyond these high level manifesto commitments, HEPI has recently produced an Election Briefing guide to the main higher education issues likely to be affected by the 2019 general election.

(To download a Microsoft Word version of the table above, click below.)

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