College funding overhaul

March 4th, 2011


Greenock and Inverclyde MSP Duncan McNeil has gained an assurance from shadow education secretary Des McNulty that he will overhaul the broken system which is selling James Watt students short.

The Labour pair met with Principal Sue Pinder, EIS officials and student reps to discuss the impact of the funding cuts being imposed by the Scottish Government.

Mr McNulty said that Labour would hold a root and branch review of the sector and overhaul the further education funding system. Colleges are being forced to cut courses and staff because of cuts of 10.4% in college budgets announced by the SNP Scottish Government.

Currently, the Scottish Funding Council assigns a budget to colleges based on student numbers rather assessing the quality of courses or industry requirements.

Des McNulty, shadow education secretary, said: “Colleges and universities all over Scotland are hurting right now because of the SNP’s failure to invest in further education and this bears out from my discussions with the students and staff at James Watt.

“The cuts are made worse because the system that funds colleges is unfit for purpose and I want to see this addressed rather than paper over the cracks.

“The James Watt is a good example of a college which is being forced to compromise quality and scale back at a time when young people need it most.”

Duncan McNeil, MSP for Greenock and Inverclyde, said: “Given the deep cuts to the James Watt budget, I have very real concerns about the future of the college.

“I was delighted that Des was able to see for himself that great progress that has been made at James Watt and understand the significant challenges the college faces.

“I am pleased that Des is committed to addressing some of the funding issues and ensuring James Watt students get the most from their studies.

“This was a timely visit with the consultation on the future of the college on-going and I hope the management reflect on the representations we have made as they take this forward.”