Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Spending on UK Estates Rises by Half a Billion

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

Spending on UK Estates Rises by Half a Billion

Article excerpt

Universities' expenditure on their estates rose 25 per cent in the past year as institutions focused on competing for students and staff, according to a new report.

Overall, capital expenditure on the academic estate (excluding residential) rose to more than £2.5 billion from £2 billion in one year, for the highest recorded annual spend. These were the findings of the annual estates statistics report commissioned by the Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE).

According to the report, universities have been able to fund extra spending through their own cash reserves and running surpluses, but also through "access to affordable debt" and bonds.

Echoing a Higher Education Funding Council for England-commissioned report earlier this year that stated that a third of universities had actually cut spending on campus facilities by more than a quarter since 2008, the AUDE report suggests that the overall increase was driven by high spending at a small number of institutions.

However, it notes that "some institutions are in the process of substantial capital programmes, often running into the hundreds of millions of pounds over a number of years".

George Griffith, associate director at the property advisory company CBRE and one of the report's authors, told Times Higher Education that many universities are spending up to £40 million on their estates each year. …

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