SIPTU has condemned the proposal in Budget 2014 to maintain a €25 million reduction in funding to higher education institutions that was introduced in 2013. SIPTU Education Sector chairperson, Jack McGinley, said: “This cut in funding means that institutions are expected to deliver the same level of student services from a reduced budget or through the use of existing cash reserves held by them. “Of course, this cut will in reality either mean a reduction in the services provided or a decrease in the financial stability of higher education institutions.” He added: “It is particularly unfortunate that the Government has decided to adversely affect the funding of the third level sector while not promoting education equality by reducing the State subsidy to private fee paying schools. “Prior to the Budget, SIPTU made clear its view that any cuts in the education sector should be restricted to reducing the allocation of public funds to the private fee paying school sector. Making a cut of between €40 million and €50 million in private school funding would bring greater equality to the education sector. “This reduction in funding would begin to redress the imbalance and inequalities in the primary, secondary and third level education sectors which cannot afford any further attrition on their current funding.”