No 21: Adduned Cymru – The Welsh Pledge (3): the financial implications

Adduned Cymru – The Welsh Pledge (3): the financial implications

In Blog 18 I wrote about the proposed Wales Universities Trust to be established to care for funds currently worth £5.5 million which had been donated to the University and the Land Trust to care for the lands for which the University was responsible under the Welsh Churches Act.   In Blog 19 I wrote about two proposed Trusts to which £500,000 had been allocated.   These sums had been identified in the News Release issued on 10 December 2012 which boasted of a £6.8 million hand-out but it’s significant that no financial figures are given in the version of Adduned Cymru which appeared on the University’s website earlier this month!   

The original declaration gave the following summary of the Adduned Cymru promise:

Wales Universities Trust                   £5.5 million, which was not the University’s money but                                                                   funds that were held in trust by the University

The Land Trust                                   value of the land

Heritage Academy Trust                  £500,000

University of Wales Press Trust      £500,000

The Gregynog Trust                            use of some of the university’s historic unrestricted                                                                 endowments

This gives a total of £6.5 million which is £300,000 short of the £6.8 million given in the 10 December 2012 News Release and highlighted in the media at the time.

When I asked for an explanation of this difference I was told that “at this initial stage no funding has been allocated to specific trusts.   Further information will available in due course.”   This is in direct contradiction to the News release of 10 December 2012.   Incredible you may think.   But no, this is par for the course for the University of Wales Council and the Chief Executive.  

The current webpage outlining “Adduned Cymru- The Welsh Pledge” makes no mention of any financial figures but the original News Release of 10 December 2012 can currently be seen on the University’s website by going to the “News” section.   If you want to read it I suggest you do so quickly as I’m convinced that it will soon be removed.  The one thing I’ve learnt over the past few months is to ensure that I take a copy of items of interest that I see on the University’s website before the authorities remove it in the way the minutes of the Academic Board have been removed – see Blog No. 15.   I’ve taken a copy so that I can prove that my views are based on fact.

I’ve come to the conclusion that the News Release of 10 December 2012 was nothing more than a publicity stunt to try to demonstrate the University’s generosity – with £5.5 million that wasn’t theirs in the first place!   Sums of £500,000 had been pluck out of the air for two of the proposed Trusts without any assessment of needs or any attempt to prepare Business Plans.   But following the Awen Wales Limited (see Blog No. 17) debacle one can’t be surprised.   One can’t have any faith whatsoever in the University’s ability to prepare and implement Business Plans. 

What about the rest of the University’s assets?

Given that the University’s net assets in the Financial Report for the year ending 31 July 2011 are given as over £28 million I asked what was to happen to the balance of the assets once funding had been provided to the proposed Trusts and for any other issues that may require funding.   I was informed that on the date of the finalisation of the merger with University of Wales: Trinity Saint David that all remaining funds would be transferred to the new university.    

There we have it.  The only purpose of the proposed merger is to transfer University of Wales funds to Trinity Saint David. 

On current form they will probably use it to further develop their London Campus!   Or possibly new campuses in exotic overseas locations!

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