Failing universities should be allowed to close to free up money for elite institutions, the head of the CBI has said.
Richard Lambert, director-general of the CBI, admitted it was “politically explosive” to suggest closing or merging the worst-run universities but said it was “probably economically sensible”.
Lambert pointed to research that indicated members of the Russell Group of 20 leading universities could have deficits of around 12% of revenues in three years, the Daily Mail has reported.
In a speech at Sheffield University, he said: “Looking across the whole university system, a small number of institutions are already in serious financial difficulty.
“If forecasts such as these are even faintly realistic, then a large cohort of universities is heading into very big trouble.”
He said if the government continued to fund all institutions, then “our best universities pay the price for the incompetence of the worst”.