As Featured on Smoke Radio

It’s the end of the financial year, and as many of you scream with pain and joy, depending on if you got over or under taxed, corporations across the country will be sorting their numbers out for the year.

The Students’ Union this year ‘ran out’ of money before the end of the year, so in its new budget has had to make cuts and savings to prevent this from happening again. The reason the lack of money occurred is due to a missed paperwork deadline for the Court of Governors. A budget was prepared for the Governors and money was spent based on this budget, so when the proposal deadline was missed, money had already been spent without it having been confirmed or receive; this created a funding shortfall.

Our Students’ Union has now released its budget documents for the last two years, which shows where your money has been spent. They’ve also announced in what way their bid for money from the university will look like. We’ve trawled though the numbers to pick out the important facts, so you don’t have to.

Every year the Students’ Union receives a “Block Grant” which is money given to the SU by the University to fund itself. They receive this by submitting a ‘Impact Report’ and ‘Strategic Plan’ which includes budget proposals. The Students’ Union also raises its own revenue with ventures like the Harrow Bars and Cavendish and Harrow Shops.

This year they are pitching to have a 56% increase in their block grant from the university from £720,000 to £1,125,000. This increase will give them an extra £405,000.

They highlight in the report how they have some work to complete to strengthen their “organisational structures” after this year’s financial troubles and have highlighted £70,000 worth of cuts to prove to the University they can make savings. It states that these savings will be made in areas such as “student staffing, design costs, specific areas of activity (e.g student radio) and sports travel“.

Smoke, QH & Other Media Costs Pie Chart

Media Expenditure Bid Pie Chart

The media budget for the last year has been forecasted to reach £234,000. The Quintin Hogg (QH) Newspaper had the largest budget at £32,500, Smoke Mag next at £16,000 and Smoke Fest third at £11,000. The budgets for Smoke TV and Smoke Radio were merged together to total £12,000 spent by both. However, Smoke Radio is run by an independent committee that is separate to Smoke TV and is only forecasting to have spent £3,500 and has also raised approximately £1500 of its own budget leaving its approximated cost for the year at £2000. This is cheaper than the full budget for the Students’ Union website which stands at £5000.

The media budget has been highlighted as one area that will have major savings and reductions, a total of £28,000 next year. The QH’s budget has been reduced by 13%, Smoke Mag by 12.25% and Smoke TV and Radios combined budgets have been reduced by 37.5%. Smoke Fest and Smoke Extra have been cut from the forecast and will receive no funding next year.

Staff salaries have been increased across the board by 1%, with a few exceptions where staff are receiving an even larger pay rise. This will leave the Chief Executive with a £56,579, the Sabbatical officers and President with £25,808, and the Welfare Advisors salaries’ have also increased by 1%. The Deputy Chief Executive’s salary has increased by 3.82% to £45,16,3 and the full-time staff in the media budget will receive a 3.2% rise between them. The Sabbaticals’ expenses budget will also increase by 9% from £11,000 to £12,000.

Other cost increases include an extra £5,000 for events to £15,000, campaigns will also grow by £5000 to £9000 and finance costs (which include things like paying for someone to manage the accounts) will grow by £14,000 to £76,000.

Further cuts have been highlighted in the sports budget, a decrease of 5% (£9000) to £167,500 and in the ‘So Fresh ‘N’ So Clean’ student staff team from £19,000 to £12,500.

Societies and the Centre for performing arts (CPA) have been ring fenced and will not increase or decrease and will continue to receive £26,000, and societies will stay at £14,000.

This bid has not yet been agreed by the University and is subject to change. It will also be reviewed by the Student Union Trustee Board which is made up of Sabbatical Officers, University Set Trustees and Student Volunteer Trustees.

You can see the Full Strategic Budget Report on the UWSU Website’s governance section here, and get involved; what do you think about the Students’ Union’s finance plans? Share your comments below

The UWSU Annual Students Conference (AGM) Will be held on the 30th of April, Find out More here