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All western economies are spending an ever higher share of their national output on so-called intangibles – research, teaching, branding and marketing, design – in the struggle for competitive advantage. And it is graduates who do most of the heavy lifting in these areas. The Work Foundation, of which I am executive vice-chair, calculates that in 1970 around a fifth of the workforce were “knowledge” workers with degrees or their equivalent; today it is two-fifths. By 2020 it will be half; by 2040 60%.

Will Hutton makes a case against cutting spending on higher education in The Guardian (Don’t destroy our universities. Our future depends on them).