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What are the smaller parties promising for higher and further education in their manifestos?

  • 6 December 2019
  • By Michael Natzler

Having covered the manifesto commitments of the Conservative Party, the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats previously, we decided to the same for the smaller and non UK-wide parties.

Caveats apply, not least that the table does not include absolutely every mention of the issues indicated in the headings, nor does a party’s manifesto constitute their entire election offering, nor even are manifestos necessarily the best predictor of what they will do in office

Why bother then, especially with these smaller parties who are most likely not going to govern come the final result? It is true that it is unlikely that any of these parties will gain a majority, but waking up on the 13th December to a hung parliament is a real possibility. In this case, power shifts to these smaller parties as the largest party look to find support enough to govern at least temporarily, be that in a coalition or a Conservative-DUP-style pact, and the priorities of these smaller parties move from ideas in sidelined manifestos to potential realities.  

So if we do end up with a hung parliament, would a Green-Labour arrangement see the establishment of a new Food and Agriculture Research Council? Or if the Conservatives fall a few seats short, would they let the Brexit Party cap both home student numbers at 50% and international student numbers?

I hope this provides some food for thought both for those who want to complete the picture of how the various parties are proposing to approach higher education in office, and for those hoping to second-guess the uncertain future of higher education.

1 comment

  1. Michael Daw says:

    I know you state that the details are not exhaustive, but as a biomedical scientist I think there is a really important detail about the Green Party’s policy on research missing. From the manifesto: “Stop the use of primates, cats
    and dogs in research and the
    importation of monkeys for use in
    labs, and work towards an outright
    ban on all animal testing.” This long term plan would have a hugely detrimental effect on one of the UK’s great research strengths.

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