From education to employment

Draft Budget – Cutting college funding creates massive challenges


The Draft Budget which came to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday presents a funding cut to colleges which will mean challenging decisions during 2024/25.

The Draft Budget means for Scotland’s 24 colleges:

  • That the Scottish Government will reduce revenue funding for the college sector, to £643.0m. This represents a reduction of £58.7m against the level of funding for 2023/24 which was initially presented to Parliament in December 2022 of £701.7m, equivalent to 8.4%.
  • However, Scotland’s colleges already lost a £26million Transformation Fund that was promised for 2023/24 – taking this into account, for 2024/25 Scotland’s colleges will experience a funding cut of £32.7m, equivalent to 4.7%.
  • The Scottish Government has increased current levels of capital funding for the college sector with the Draft Budget for 2024/25 provisionally confirmed as £84.9m. This represents an increase of £2.5m, or equivalent to 3.0%, against the Budget for 2023/24.

Shona Struthers, Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland said:

“Cutting college funding again creates massive challenges for college leaders. Without adequate funding to deliver education and training, major changes will have to be made. There will be difficult choices about what courses colleges can deliver, what buildings can be repaired, and how to cope with rising staff costs. Colleges have already seen their budgets slashed in previous years.

“As part of the public sector, colleges have to balance their books. It will be incredibly difficult with less funding available for colleges to do this in 2024/25.

“We acknowledge the extremely difficult position that Scotland is facing but colleges require adequate funding to continue to deliver on Scottish Government priorities. This includes providing key workers for health and social care, upskilling the current and future workforce to support the Just Transition, and supporting other vital industries.

“Colleges are of critical importance to Scotland’s people, communities, and the economy, they simply cannot keep delivering more with less.”

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