Russell Group comment on proposed amendment to Freedom of Speech Bill

17 January 2022

Following reports of a proposed amendment to the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill relating to the reporting of overseas donations, a Russell Group spokesperson said:

"Nobody disagrees with the importance of a transparent system of funding that has the confidence of the public. Universities work hard to comply with the extensive transparency requirements that are already in place, including the recently enacted National Security and Investment Act.

"The proposed amendment seems to require the collection and reporting of data on everything from the personal financial circumstances of individual overseas students who are being supported by family members, to historic contractual data relating to major research partnerships, and everything in between. This would put a significant reporting burden on universities, risk overwhelming the OfS with a huge volume of returns from the sector and potentially deter inward investment from international businesses without adding meaningfully to the way we work to protect free speech.

"We are ready to work with Government and parliamentarians to respond to their concerns, but we don’t believe the proposed amendment is the right approach."

Media Enquiries
Policy Enquiries

Follow us on Twitter