Firms in the education building sector will be watching to see the impact on student places and higher education spending following radical changes to tuition fees and the grant system.
For students from poorer backgrounds, the government will next year replace maintenance grants for new students from England with maintenance loans, paid back when their earnings exceed £21,000 a year, saving £2.5bn by 2020-21.
The £9,000-a-year tuition fee cap will be removed for “institutions offering high teaching quality” to increase their fee in line with inflation from 2017-18. There will be a consultation on the mechanisms to do this.
Osborne also reaffirmed his commitment to science funding, launching a series of audits, led by Local Enterprise Partnerships, of the strengths and potential areas for focus for different regions. Further details will be set out at the spending review later this year.