From education to employment

NUS Scotland warns the £100m of budget cuts to higher and further education will be disastrous for students

kids in class

As the Scottish Parliament voted to pass the 2024-25 budget bill, NUS Scotland has again warned that cash-terms cuts to higher and further education of over £100million will have dire consequences for students, staff, and Scotland.

According to the IfS this academic year universities have received 19% less funding in real terms than they did a decade ago in 2013–14, and colleges are facing an even more severe strain.

Colleges are already cutting staff numbers and learning provision, and are also facing a huge £321million maintenance backlog. These drastic and shortsighted cuts to funding will worsen the problem and harm the prospects of students from Scotland’s poorest communities.

Last week students, trade unions, and politicians rallied outside the parliament and their message to the Scottish Government that they must stop the cuts was clear. If this SNP-Green Government continues to ignore student and staff voices and undervalue education it will be putting Scotland’s future at risk.

Commenting, NUS Scotland President Ellie Gomersall said: 

“The Scottish Government’s determination to go ahead with these devastating cash cuts demonstrates a shocking indifference to students and staff that are already struggling in an education system which has been underfunded for years.

“We stood outside parliament last week and our message to Stop the Cuts was clear but they seem intent on recklessly moving forward.

“Education is key to the government’s stated aim of tackling inequality and poverty but it needs to be funded properly to do that. Colleges in particular are on the brink, and students in our poorest communities who have already experienced cuts to teaching staff and provision are going to be hit hardest.

“This budget is a betrayal to students. Instead of investing in Scotland’s future, they are throwing it away.”

The Rally for Our Education was held on Wednesday 21 February outside the Scottish Parliament and was attend by student activists as well as representatives of the STUC; Scottish Labour; EIS-FELA; Living Rent; the Scottish Lib Dems; UCU; and Unison.

IfS article on the public funding of Scotland’s universities, highlighting the 19% real terms cut since 2013-14,  here. 

Audit Scotland’s report, ‘Scotland’s Colleges 2023’, highlighting increased risks to colleges’ financial sustainability, here.

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