"Decade Of Cuts" Costs Colleges, It Is Claimed

27 December 2018, 07:26 | Updated: 27 December 2018, 07:42

College students

A "decade of cuts" has cost colleges around £1 billion worth of funding, according to Scottish Labour.

The party has accused the Scottish Government of failing to protect budgets for colleges in Scotland since 2007 and claim that not doing so has left institutions short of cash.

Analysis by Labour, based on figures provided by the Scottish Parliament's Information Centre (SPICe), indicate that college budgets were £739.6 million in real terms when the SNP came to power in 2007.

They say that had the SNP government protected that budget, colleges would have seen an additional £1 billion of investment over the past decade.

Labour's education spokesman, Iain Gray, said that the loss in funding had led to fewer students and a lack of resources available.

"So much for education being the SNP's top priority, years of austerity has cost our colleges over £1 billion," said Mr Gray.

"This will have cut off opportunities for thousands of young people and people seeking to learn new skills later in life.

"The long term impact this has had, and will have, on our economy is simply disgraceful.

"Colleges should be ladders of opportunity for people, engaging with schools, universities and employers to deliver opportunity for all, they should be playing a key role in any government's long term economic strategy.

"Instead, they have become the whipping boy of successive education budgets.

"Labour would invest in education so everyone has the skills they need to get on in life."

Further Education Minister, Richard Lochhead, said that the Scottish Government would continue to support colleges.

"Our colleges deliver high quality teaching and learning, giving students recognised qualifications and providing a skilled, productive workforce to help grow our economy," said Mr Lochhead.

"Since 2007, we've invested over £810 million in real terms towards new campuses and buildings and have funded at least 116,000 FTE college places every year since 2011.

"Set against £2 billion real terms cut to our resource block grant over the last decade by the UK Government, we continue to support our colleges by investing over £600 million in colleges next year to deliver successful outcomes for all."