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Government slams militant union bosses trying to thwart university students’ return next month

THE Government has hit back at militant union bosses who are trying to thwart the return of students to university next month.

The University and College Union wants freshers to avoid campuses until Christmas unless a testing scheme is put in place.

Its chief Jo Grady warned it’s “too dangerous” for face-to-face teaching to resume and warned students could help spread a second wave.

But Treasury minister Steve Barclay said it’s vital youngsters get back into lecture theatres so their long-term prospects aren’t hit.

He said: “Universities, like the rest of the economy, need to come back and students need to be able to do so.

“There’s damage to people if they’re not able to get back to normal and if they miss some of the interactions and some of the benefits that would come from the universities returning.

“Blanket restriction on universities coming back would be both economically damaging, but more to the point we need the students to be able to pursue their careers, their studies and get back to normal.”

He added: “That doesn’t mean we don’t then also apply Covid safe processes to how we do that.

“In a Covid environment clearly there will need to be changes when universities come back.”

Labour also supported calls to get students back into lecture theatres.

Shadow business minister Lucy Powell said: “We want to see young people being able to go back to university.

“We want to see that being done in a way that can give people confidence that it’s safe and that it’s sensible to do so.

“We’ve always supported measures that slowly will, in a safe and confident way, encourage people back to the office, back to work, and back to school.”

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