Two HEFCE reports on English sector finances have been launched this week. The annual Financial Health of the HE sector sees income grow from £29.1bn to £29.9bn for 16/17, while sector surplus has dropped from £1.5bn to £1.1bn due to cost increases. Similarly, increases in liquidity from £9.6bn to £10.4bn are set against an increase in borrowing from £8.9bn to 9.9bn.
HEFCE’s Chief Executive, Professor Madeleine Atkins, said: ‘We continue to see significant variation in the financial performance of individual universities and colleges. ‘Universities’ forecasts …signal a general weakening of financial performance, with predictions of lower surpluses and cash levels and higher borrowing levels.” She added that “‘The sector has risen to these sorts of challenges in the past, however, any risks will need careful monitoring and mitigation to ensure long-term sustainability.”
The second report covered the new Annual Efficiency Returns that Institutions submitted at the end of last year. Combined with procurement efficiencies recorded in the EMM survey, HEFCE found the total cash value of efficiencies for 2016/17 stood at £912million, or 3.2% of sector turnover. The sector averages, negating some of the effect of large, one-off capital receipts, was 2.1%.