Reporting in the Higher suggests that at least some of the less posh fear he is pushing at a half-open door as Treasury wants to withdraw the Widening Participation funding as a cost-saving measure. There are a number of funding streams associated with WP. For 2011/12 they break down as follows:
- Widening Participation £141,630,239 (allocated on the basis of postcode data to identify students from low-participation areas, and Disabled Students Allowance data to identify disabled students);
- Teaching Enhancement and Student Success £263,856,011 (allocated primarily on the basis of students' age and entry qualifications);
- Other targeted allocations £203,550,592 (a grab-bag not all of which is WP-related, but including support for part time, accelerated and Foundation Degree programmes).
You can see how it would be painful and difficult for the coalition to withdraw this funding, however, because it directly supports the supposed Government priority of fair access for all. David Eastwood is formidably well-connected, but I wouldn't bet on him having a hotline to Santa this time.