Reporter 459, 20 November 2000

Council news

Bretton deal details to be wrapped up next month

In the driving seat: Pro-Chancellor David Ansbro, above, presided last week at the first full meeting of the University’s governing Council since it was reshaped in a reform earlier this year

Next month’s Council meeting will consider definite proposals on the planned merger of Bretton Hall college with the University, due to be completed in August next year.

The November meeting of the University’s governing body heard that inquiries into specific issues, including the college’s year-end deficit of £1.6m and the role of the Higher Education Funding Council for England in the merger, were expected to be wrapped up in time for the December 14 meeting.

Plans are being finalised for Trinity St David’s church to become a new café-bar-bistro complex. The University has accepted a bid of £1.5m from Ultimate Leisure Group for the redevelopment of the church and the adjoining Sunday school and caretaker’s house. The deal is subject to safeguards as to the external appearance of the buildings and the compatibility of the business with the University’s own activities.

A report to Council on University and student funding said that an increase in fee levels might act as a deterrent to enrolment and encourage more students to take up term-time employment. This could in turn result in lower degree marks.

Nearly a quarter of the undergraduate intake at Leeds comes from comprehensive schools, Council was advised.

The report, by Pro-Vice-Chancellor Dr Harry Lewis, was drawn up in preparation for the debate on higher education funding strategy which will almost certainly follow the next General Election.

It warned that a means testing system would be needed if the University wished to retain its inclusive social profile after higher fees were introduced.The University’s financial position at July 31 amounted to a consolidated deficit of £308,000, Council was told. This compared to a surplus of £1.32m recorded at the same point in the previous financial year.

Operating expenses other than staff costs have seen an eight percent increase over 1998-99, including a 33 percent rise in consumables and laboratory spending, and all resource centres have been asked to achieve 10 percent savings in non-staff costs in the current financial year.

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