John Swinney yesterday moved to mitigate the political damage on the Scottish government over college funding cuts by finding another £61 million in his Budget — his second such change of direction in two years. This is from the Times…
The climbdown by the Scottish Finance Secretary came after a campaign by students and principals warning that there would be a reduction in places and courses in the college sector at the most vital time for the economy.
The extra cash will still leave the sector dealing with a year-on-year cut of £24 million in 2013-14 and a real-terms cut in 2014-15, when the revenue budget will remain at £522 million.
The change of heart was similar to last year’s Budget, when Mr Swinney also found extra money for colleges at the last minute.
NUS Scotland warned that the cuts were still unacceptable and said that it had hoped for much more from the government. However, Mr Swinney did manage to appease the principals.
John Henderson, from Colleges Scotland, said that the announcement was “warmly welcomed” and the stability would allow the colleges to focus on the reforms that the government is pursuing. These include creating a regional structure for further education.
Michael Russell, the Scottish Education Secretary, who has come under attack for the cuts to the colleges, said that the announcement would provide stability during a period of reform.
More at: Once again, Swinney finds more cash for the colleges (subscription required)