Forced merger plans cannot be supported: Aled Roberts AM

July 18, 2012 11:40 AM

Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Education, Aled Roberts, has expressed his concern at the decision by the Education Minister, Leighton Andrews, to pursue his goal of a three-way merger of the University of Glamorgan, Cardiff Metropolitan University and the University of Wales, Newport. The Minister's aims were set out in a Statement outlining his clear intention to dissolve both Cardiff Met and Newport.

Commenting, Aled Roberts said:

"It is extremely disappointing that the Minister has set out on a course to consult on the dissolution of Cardiff Met. He has made clear that it is his intention subject to the consultation to proceed to merger and will set up a new strategic board to work towards the new merged institution.

"Whilst I am pleased that the Minister has bowed to pressure and made the latest report public, there is still no new evidence to support a business case for merger.

"The Minister's comment that institutions should "adapt or die" appears to have been realised, although it is clear from Professor Sir Steve Smith's report that Cardiff Metropolitan University is suffering as a result of Welsh Government policy, not through any weaknesses of its own.

"Institutions must now receive the appropriate support they will need in the coming months as the statutory consultation period begins, although the Minister's failure to confirm that the consultation will not include the summer break was noteworthy.

"Little information was forthcoming on the costs associated with the merger, and there are obviously questions regarding pensions, potential campus closures and the prospect of redundancies.

"Today's Statement has done little to deal with the uncertainty faced by either existing or prospective staff and students and without sight of a business case I cannot support the Minister's decision."

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