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Sir Alan Langlands, Chief Executive of HEFCE, said:

'We welcome the CBI Higher Education Task Force report. It recognises the world class status and diversity of higher education and the essential role of universities in ensuring that the country has the knowledge and skills for long-term success. It also sets out some clear challenges for Government, higher education and businesses moving forward.

HEFCE will continue to support enduring education, innovation and research partnerships between universities and colleges and business. It will also continue to promote study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – boosting demand and provision to meet the needs of employers and new industries.

We will work closely with universities and the business community to act on the insights and recommendations of the CBI report. While supporting the main tenets of the report we do not wish to pre-empt the fees review, participation targets and other aspects of the student finance debate. These matters fall outside our direct area of responsibility.'