Our Future Our Fight – Protecting Colleges in Scotland
FIGHT TO PROTECT SCOTLAND'S COLLEGES NEEDS TO GO ON
The Scottish Parlaiment recently debated the final stage of the budget bill and the overwhelming response to the NUS campaign from tens of thousands of students, staff and others has prompted the Scottish Government to announce additional funding for student support and college places amounting to £19.5m this year.
This funding will help to reverse the £11m cut to student support highlighted by NUS Scotland and will alleviate the fears highlighted by the Our Future Our Fight campaign in the next year. I will continue to monitor how this money is delivered to ensure that it addresses concerns about protecting places, staff numbers and course quality.
However, while this money will ease pressure on the college sector in the year ahead, there is still to be a cut of over £30m this year followed by cuts of £31.7m and £24m in subsequent years. This means that by 2014-15, the college budget will have been cut by £89m.
These cuts, if they go ahead will cause serious damage to the college sector, risking the quality and quantity of learning opportunities available in our local areas and impacting negatively on vulnerable groups.
At a time of rising youth unemployment, I believe that this is a backwards step and I will continue to work to preserve local access to colleges in recognition of the vital role they play in our communities.
Hugh Henry MSP