University campus wins crucial backing

TODAY the government joined The Evening Star in backing moves to bring a university to Ipswich. Speaking exclusively to The Star Bill Rammell MP, minister of state for higher education and lifelong learning, gave the strongest endorsement yet to the University Campus Suffolk (UCS) project.

TODAY the government joined The Evening Star in backing moves to bring a university to Ipswich.

Speaking exclusively to The Star Bill Rammell MP, minister of state for higher education and lifelong learning, gave the strongest endorsement yet to the University Campus Suffolk (UCS) project.

The minister, who has worked with education secretary Ruth Kelly since May, said: "We very much welcome the creation of University Campus Suffolk in Ipswich."

"This exciting joint venture will boost the opportunities for young people to study higher education in Suffolk and will support economic growth in the region."


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Mr Rammell, MP for Harlow since 1997, added: "I am sure that this will be a successful venture and will continue to grow from strength to strength."

Expected to turn Ipswich into a university town, the UCS project was handed a £12.5million cash injection by the East of England Development Agency EEDA just four weeks ago.

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UCS project bosses have welcomed the government's recognition and support for the scheme.

Richard Lister UCS director of operations said: "We are really pleased with this endorsement. It underlines the widespread support enjoyed by the University Campus Suffolk project from many parts of the community.

"It gives us the boost we need to carry on with what we are trying to achieve."

An EEDA spokesperson said: "The new University Campus Suffolk will help to further develop the region's skills base to support a world-class economy by increasing participation in higher education.

"Government support for this project is important recognition of this goal and the work which everyone involved with this development has and will continue to make in the future."

Cllr Rae Leighton, who has a special responsibility for the UCS project at Suffolk County Council, said: "It is good that UCS is receiving backing from a number of sources.

"It provides extra momentum to the whole project to bring higher education opportunities directly to communities across Suffolk."

Weblinks www.suffolk.ac.uk; www.ucs.ac.uk

What do you think of the UCS project? Do you want to study in Ipswich? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send us an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

ELECTED in 1997, Bill Rammell has represented the Harlow constituency for nine years.

Following the 2001 General Election he served as parliamentary private secretary to the culture

secretary, Tessa Jowell MP, and was appointed as an assistant government whip in October 2002. However, after just a few weeks he was moved to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office following a government reshuffle after the resignation of education secretary Estelle Morris.

Until May 2005 he served as parliamentary under secretary of state with responsibility for government policy towards Latin America and North East Asia, China and Hong Kong, as well as the United Nations, human rights, the environment and the co-ordination of international support through our embassies across the world for the 2012 Olympic bid.

Following the May 2005 General Election, Mr Rammell was promoted to minister of state at the Department for Education and Skills, with responsibility for lifelong learning, further and higher education.

Weblink: www.billrammell.labour.co.uk

ONE of the largest schemes of its kind in the UK University Campus Suffolk (UCS) is due to open its doors to students in September 2007.

Costing and estimated £150million over the next ten years UCS was handed a £15 million kick-start in February by the Higher Education Funding Council For England (HEFCE).

Land has already been set aside for the project and UCS, plus a new Suffolk College, will create an 'education quarter' stretching from Rope Walk to the Ipswich Waterfront.

A partnership lead by the universities of East Anglia and Essex, the UCS project is supported by Suffolk County Council and Ipswich Borough Council. There will also be substantial private sector investment in the scheme.

N UCS is expected to be worth £1 million a week to the Ipswich economy.

N UCS will include the Ipswich campus and a number of linked centres in other Suffolk towns. This county-wide campus will be known as the Suffolk Learning Centres.

N The total cost of the scheme is expected to be £150million over ten years. Phase one is expected to cost £75m.

N In November 2004 Suffolk County Council pledged £13m towards buying land for the project.

N The plans include halls of residence for students and car parking.

N Autumn 2002- Officials from the University of East Anglia and University of Essex meet with Suffolk College bosses to discuss a collaborative approach to extending higher education in Suffolk.

N Spring 2003-Suffolk County Council revived ambitions for a university in the county. The council established a group made up from the interested parties.

N January 2004-HEFCE awarded £245,000 of funding to produce a business case for the UCS scheme

N Spring 2004-Ipswich Borough Council agreed a £10million contribution towards land purchases for the project.

N June 2004-The UCS website www.ucs.ac.uk was launched at the Suffolk Show.

N September 2004-Discussiuons take place with education and business leaders about the UCS curriculum.

N November 2004-The plans gain pace as Suffolk County Council pledges £13 million to buy the land needed for the main campus in Ipswich.

N December 2004-The UCS project team submits a bid to HEFCE for £15 million of funding.

N February 2005 HEFCE grant £15m towards the project.

N September 2005-EEDA grants £12.5m towards the project.

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