Losses of £1.3m due to an extensive refurbishment programme have nearly killed ULU's independent commercial services, with the University seeking to take them over and sell them off. The University is looking to outsource its own catering and wants ULU services to be part of that process.
A report drawn up by the University's Director of Finance has shown that UL believes commercial services such as bars and the shop should only be run to turn a profit. It also recommends that ULU pulls out of bars at Queen Mary and Birkbeck, which it currently helps manage.
In a report to ULU Council, ULU Officer Without Portfolio Chris Heathcote said he felt "that ULU was taken to the cleaners by the central university" and "forced" into accepting the report.
The losses come mostly from a large trading deficit incurred while ULU's bars and entertainment venues were closed during 2005, during which time a refurbishment was carried out. The closure included the freshers' period, which is crucial to attracting and keeping new custom throughout the year.
Former ULU finance sabb and ICU hack Rob Park indicated that a verbal agreement with the university would have seen them cover the cost of any losses during the refurbishment, however UL management deny this and no paper was ever signed.
In contrast to this disaster, ICU's own refurbishment programme is allowing most of the building to remain open at any one time, with all three bars spruced up and open in time for the freshers' period. While it is running late, the first phase is believed to be within the maximum budget allocated to it.