NDM7101 Plaid Cymru debate - The Higher Education Sector

NDM7101 Rhun ap Iorwerth (Ynys Môn)

To propose that the National Assembly for Wales:

1. Notes the serious financial crisis facing the Welsh higher education sector, with significant job losses announced over the last twelve months amid concerns as to the financial sustainability of individual institutions.

2. Calls on the Welsh Government to commission an urgent review of the financial sustainability of the Welsh university sector.

3. Calls on the Welsh Government to give HEFCW an explicit mandate to intervene to prevent the bankruptcy of any higher education institution in Wales in the immediate future, by means of an emergency loan if necessary.

4. Calls on the Welsh Government to ensure that any public funding to a Welsh university is contingent on vice-chancellor salaries being no more than five times median earnings.

5. Calls on the Welsh Government to ensure the adequacy and transparency of university oversight and governance arrangements, especially in relation to the expenditure of public funds.

6. Calls on the Welsh Government to remit HEFCW, and any successor body, to exercise a partnership approach with students and university staff at all levels of decision-making, and to require universities to take account of student and staff views in making staffing decisions.


The following amendments have been tabled:

Amendment 1 - Rebecca Evans (Gower)

Delete all and replace with:

1.    Recognises:

a.    that Universities in Wales and the UK are independent and autonomous institutions;

b.    the financial challenges facing the Higher Education sector across the UK, including Brexit and the decline in the number of 18 year olds;

2.    Welcomes:

a.    the introduction by the Welsh Government of the most generous student support system in the UK, and the significant increases in the number of part-time and post graduate students in Wales;

b.    the introduction of a fair and sustainable funding settlement for Welsh universities and the commitment to increase funding to HEFCW in each financial year for the lifetime of this Welsh Government;

c.    the sector-wide commitment in Wales to pay the real living wage to all staff, the increased openness and transparency in the reporting of senior pay, measures being taken to address the gender pay gap and the adoption of the Code of Practice on Ethical Employment in Supply Chains;

d.    that Wales is the best performing nation in the UK for student satisfaction;

3.    Notes the Welsh Government’s remit to HEFCW to work in partnership with the sector to increase openness and transparency around the use of fee income and to strengthen governance and accountability.

Code of Practice on Ethical Employment in Supply Chains


[If amendment 1 is agreed, amendments 2 and 3 will be de-selected] 

Amendment 2- Darren Millar (Clwyd West)

Delete point 3.

Amendment 3 - Darren Millar (Clwyd West)

In point 4, delete 'is contingent on vice-chancellor salaries being no more than five times median earnings' and replace with 'includes conditions to tackle excessive vice chancellor and senior leadership pay'.

Amendment 4 - Darren Millar (Clwyd West)

Add as new point at end of motion:

Calls on the Welsh Government to publish the information about the higher education sector's financial position that it takes into consideration before agreeing the sector's annual budget allocation.


Business type: Debate

Reason considered: Senedd Business;

Status: Complete

First published: 08/06/2021

Decision due: 26 Jun 2019 by Plenary - Fifth Senedd

Lead member: Rhun ap Iorwerth MS