Warwick Chancellor Lambert plans to visit campus

Richard Lambert, Director-General of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the University of Warwick’s Chancellor, has agreed to speak to students at Warwick on the subject of university funding and the role that business should play. Warwick Think Tank, a student think tank society here at the university, have booked Lambert to participate in a debate titled: ‘What should the role of business be in the provision of education?’

Warwick Think Tank was set up at the University of Warwick in September 2009 by a group of second year PPE students with two main aims: to organise student-led debates and to publish policy recommendations in a yearly journal. Since then the society has become affiliated with the Institute for Public Policy Research, the UK’s largest think tank, with the intention of establishing a network of student think tanks across British universities. This year, the society has chosen the topic of education as the subject of its conferences and debates.

The issue of the role of businesses in the provision of higher education is one of contention at Warwick, with concerns having been raised by students in the past over links the university has with firms like BAE systems and Rolls-Royce. But the issue is also presently one of national dispute with the recent publication of the findings of the Browne review and the subsequent student protest in London on 10 November.

The Browne review, a review into the funding of higher education commissioned by the previous government, recommended removing the cap on tuition fees in order to create a more competitive market in higher education. This proposal prompted students to march through London last Wednesday in protest against the rise in fees. However, tensions have grown after the ensuing occupation of Millbank house, which many newspapers have condemned as excessively violent. It appears increasingly unlikely that the Government will back down from its position on higher fees and drastic cuts to higher education.

The debate will focus on the findings of the Browne review and the role that business plays in the funding of education. Rick Muir, a columnist for The Guardian, has argued for the importance of this debate: “The Government is now opening way for private companies to get involved in delivering many more of our public services… we urgently need a debate on the consequences of this programme for public services.”

Richard Lambert has held numerous roles in British business. He has been editor of the Financial Times, sat on the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee and, since 2006, has been Director-General of the Confederation for British Industry, an organisation that promotes the interests of business by lobbying and advising the government.

Other speakers at the event include Tim Finch, IPPR’s director of strategic communications. The debate is being held in A0.23 on Saturday 27th November from 11:00 AM.


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