GLASGOW’s MPs have today called on the UK Treasury not to “sit on their hands” when it comes to providing support to our universities and colleges.

It comes as Universities UK projects that the higher education sector stands to lose “several billion pounds” in revenue as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

All seven of our city’s MPs - Patrick Grady, Carol Monaghan, Alison Thewliss, David Linden, Chris Stephens, Anne McLaughlin, Stewart McDonald – signed the letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling on action to support the sector.

They highlighted the “critical role” that the University of Glasgow was playing by leading the Glasgow Lighthouse Lab COVID-19 test centre, which has increased the UK’s coronavirus testing capabilities by several thousand each day.

And they put spotlight on the “crucial” way in which universities will help in the recovery process once the lockdown is lifted.

Their open letter reads: “We are writing to you today to call for the Treasury to commit to a package of measures in support of universities in Scotland and across the UK, in light of the challenges the Higher Education sector is facing as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

“Universities UK is currently projecting that the Higher Education sector stands to lose several billion pounds in revenue, and has warned that there is a ‘significant risk’ that the capacity of universities to deliver key teaching and research activity could be undermined in the years to come, without an appropriate package of support from the Treasury.

“Our universities already act as major drivers of the economy, equipping the next generation of the workforce with the skills they need to succeed and driving forward innovation and scientific advances.  

“As we seek to ensure our economy recovers in the aftermath of the crisis, these roles will only become more crucial in light of the inevitable changes to the labour market and disruption to many sectors.”

READ MORE: Major coronavirus testing facility in Glasgow hospital now operational

The letter says that the Scottish Government has already earmarked “any Barnett consequentials” from investment south of the border for education, adding: “It

is now incumbent on you to act to ensure the continued stability and success of this vital sector.”

It continues: “Scotland’s universities are one of our major economic success stories – an area in which we continually punch above our weight internationally and a sector of which we are rightly proud. 

“It would be an act of considerable negligence by this UK Government to sit on their hands and put this success at risk.

“We would urge you to provide swift reassurance to the sector in Scotland and the UK that the Treasury will provide the support our universities need, as requested by Universities UK and institutions right across Scotland.”

The UK Government has been contacted for comment.