Student activists and trade unionists staged a protest outside the School of Oriental and African Studies against the government’s education cuts, at the same time when Willetts was delivering the Neville Butler Memorial Lecture on social sciences research and longitudinal studies, The Guardian reported.

The Metropolitan Police said they have arrested two people on suspicion of violent disorder at the protest, which was attended by approximately 100 people.

Bernard Goyder, Campaigns Officer at SOAS Students Union, said that police used batons and were heavy handed in their struggle to disperse protesters.

He added that there was also a great deal of anger towards university authorities for letting police become involved.

“This happened while people were peacefully exercising their right to protest. Students should feel safe to be able to air their views on university campuses,” said Goyder, who attended the lecture.

Meanwhile, Home Office figures showed that the government’s plan to cut the number of overseas students coming to the UK will cost the country £۲.۴ billion more than it saves.

The official impact assessment for the reform of the student visa system showed the policy will cost more than £۳.۲ billion over the next four years in reduced economic output and a further £۳۳۰ million in lost tuition fees and immigration visa fees

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