UK Universities contribute £100bn to UK economy, says study

16 Oct 17

UK universities’ “knock-on impact” of nearly £100bn to the UK economy and almost a million jobs should not be “taken for granted”, a membership organisation said today.

The sector’s contribution is 22% greater than that produced by the whole accountancy sector and almost 50% more than the contribution of the advertising and market research industry, UK Universities claimed in a study.

But the sector receives less than one third of income from the public sector and universities leaders have warned that the contribution should not “be taken for granted” and global competition and uncertainty increases over Brexit negotiations, government policies and tuition fees.

Professor Janet Beer, president of Universities UK and vice-chancellor of the University of Liverpool, said: "There are few sectors in the UK that can be described as truly world-leading, so it is important that the success of higher education is not taken for granted.

“Universities face many challenges, including increased global competition, uncertainty over student funding and the potential impact of Brexit.”

She added: “This report is a timely reminder to policymakers of the increasing economic, social and cultural impact of universities on their local communities."​

UK universities, and their international students and visitors, generated £95bn of gross output in the economy in 2014-15 the figures for Universities UK by Oxford Economics suggested.

The institutions also generated more than 940,000 jobs around the country, equivalent to 3% of all employment.

The study showed the universities’ gross value added contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) is at £21.5bn, representing 1.2% of UK’s GDP.

The study shows the “huge and increasingly significant impact that universities have on the UK economy and jobs”, Beer said.

The higher education institutions generate larger turnover than the legal sector, advertising and marketing sector and air and spacecraft manufacturing.

International students generated a total of £25.8bn and supported 250,000 jobs, the study found.

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