College funding campaign given backing by MSP

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PROPOSED cuts of more than £34million to colleges should be scrapped - that’s the message from MSP Elaine Smith.

Ms Smith, who represents Coatbridge and Chryston, is supporting the ‘Fund Scotland’s Future’ campaign by the National Union of Students (NUS).

She said: “I believe that the Scottish Government is damaging college education with its unfair cuts to college budgets. Scotland’s colleges play a critical role in making sure that young people and those who have to retrain are given the necessary skills to help put this country back on its feet.

“We all know that Scotland’s colleges do an excellent job in training and equipping young people for the work place, and we need to invest in them now more than ever.

“These cuts need to be reversed. If this does not happen, thousands of young Scots will have their life chances damaged.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “It is good to note NUS Scotland’s recognition of the additional funding which has been put in place to protect student support and maintain student numbers.

“We are committed to a successful college sector but this must include stripping out the duplication and waste which has diverted costs from young people.

“College mergers will deliver efficiency savings running to an estimated £50 million a year which will substantially offset the budget reductions we are making.”

The spokesperson added: “Ministers welcome all constructive discussion on this issue, and any proposals to offset budget increases, particularly in light of the significant real terms cuts imposed by Westminster.”

Plans have recently been unveiled to merge Cumbernauld and Motherwell colleges, sparking fears for the future of the Kirkintilloch campus in Southbank Road.

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