Labour has defended the rise in the number of university places that happened while it was in power. Shadow Higher Education Minister Shabana Mahmood said more graduates would help Britain compete with emerging economies. Her remarks came in a lecture to the University Alliance group of business-focused universities.
Libby Hackett, of University Alliance, said the recession had increased demand for highly qualified employees. Mahmood told an invited audience that she wanted to debunk the myth that the value of a degree had declined since the growth in the numbers of graduates and universities.
She said that even lower performing universities such as University College Birmingham in her own constituency had a graduate employment rate of 81per cent, which compared with 57per cent for the population of the constituency as a whole.
She also said: “The government’s reforms are going in the wrong direction, applications to university have dropped by 8.9 per cent since last year, however, even with a small reduction in applications, this will still be a competitive year like any other as people continue to understand that university remains a good long-term investment in their future.
“Our reforms put students at the heart of the system and university funding on to a sustainable footing.”