Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

FErret: Fe News

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

FErret: Fe News

Article excerpt

Estate agents of the revolution

Much of the talk of the University and College Union Congress concerned the general secretary Sally Hunt's controversial plans for a smaller, cheaper, less Trotskyist national executive committee. That's all very well, but the spirit of thriftiness does not appear to be universal.

Although the budget for the FE committee received only a modest rise this time round, next year's planned budget for the higher education committee will swell by Pounds 20,000, almost doubling its cost. That's quite a lot of port and claret to be quaffed in oak-lined rooms while the FE committee eat their Tesco Value sandwiches.

But why is the union so strapped for cash, anyway? The answer might have something to do with the mouldering old London headquarters of the former National Association of Teachers in Further and Higher Education, which the union has failed to sell for the past four years.

Alas, the budget makes it clear that the union doesn't expect to be able to flog the Britannia Street site and pay off its loans for the next 12 months either. In fact, it's had to withdraw plans by developers to turn it into student accommodation after surprise objections from English Heritage. …

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