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Carmarthenshire Labour leader expresses concerns over Trinity Saint David ‘funding crisis’

CONCERNS have been raised by the Carmarthenshire Labour Leader over the financial stability of University of Wales Trinity Saint David and its impact on the workforce.

University of Wales Trinity Saint David and Coleg Sir Gar this month announced that they are in discussions with unions to make significant savings with cuts to teaching and support staff.
The Labour Leader states that he has been contacted by a number of staff members concerned about the ongoing restructure and the impact it is having on the workforce. Staff members believe that UWTSDs rapid expansion has risked the university’s sustainability and   locals have raised concerns that they believe the Lampeter campus will turn into a further education institution in all but name.
University of Wales Trinity Saint David have stated that they are cutting over a hundred jobs to bring it in line with the sector norm, with internal voluntary redundancy circulars placing their current spend at 70% of revenue, with an aim to bring it down to 55%. According to their consolidated financial statements from 2017/18, £48 million was spent on staffing from £78.3 million revenue (equating to 61.3%).
Staff members claim that the cuts are largely falling onto teaching and support staff, whist the senior management budget has increased over recent years. Salaries of staff classified as “key management personnel” had risen from £850,000 to £1,448,000 between 2015 to 2017, according to the university’s accounts.
UWTSD are currently advising for a Director of Marketing and Communications to join the senior management team.
The university’s latest accounts for the 2017/18, which were not finalised until April 2019, noted that they had breached a £30m bank loan that was used for their new Swansea waterfront campus and uncertainty over sources of income could cause the university to run out of cash.
Last year, UWTSD opened their new Learning Centre in Birmingham, in addition to launching a £500,000 Celtic and Welsh studies project with Jesus College, Oxford University.
UWTSD is a key partner for the Swansea Bay City Deal and are currently awaiting the sign off on the Business Case for their Yr Egin project, which would release £3 million of City Deal funding over 15 years, subject to producing the projected outcomes of Phase 1 and 2 of the project.

Carmarthenshire Labour Leader, Cllr Rob James, stated “I have serious concerns about the financial stability of University of Wales Trinity Saint David and the ongoing restructuring at the university.

“The Lampeter campus is oldest degree awarding institution in Wales and the fourth oldest in Wales and England, with the royal charter dating back to 1828. It is an important part of our heritage and culture in Wales, yet I have concerns that we are at risk of that campus being hollowed out.

“It is absolutely essential that guarantees be given to staff, students and the wider community that Lampeter will continue to provide a comprehensive range of undergraduate degrees at their campus.

“I have been contacted by a number of members of staff who are concerned about the restructuring at the University and the ability of the University to deliver on their capital projects whilst ensuring the institution’s sustainability.
“The Swansea Bay City Deal is a fantastic opportunity for the region, yet the UK and Welsh Governments plan to release funding over 15 years, on the condition that outcomes are met on all eleven projects, creates an element of risk. I understand the Chair of the Economic Strategy Board has lobbied both Governments to amend the funding phase, bringing it down to five to eight years, and I welcome that focus.
“I hope both Governments sign off on the Yr Egin and Swansea City and Waterfront Digital District business plans as soon as possible to provide stability to the university and I will be seeking reassurances from the Vice Chancellor over the coming weeks on its plans to protect staff and ensure stability, during this period of uncertainty.”
We contacted the University last week to ask about the announcements of redundancies. We have not had any response as yet.

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