Commenting on the Scottish Government’s reconvened higher education summit today, Grahame Smith, General Secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) said:
“The expert group, set up by the Scottish Government and Universities Scotland, has now outlined the gap in funding between the English and Scottish higher education sectors. Even with this group assuming that the tuition fees introduced in England will provide additional funding for the university sector, a fact disputed by Oxford University which has already stated that it needs £8000 per year tuition fees just to break even, the expert group has estimated that the gap in funding for higher education in Scotland is between £91 million and £263 million per year - a very small proportion of the Scottish Budget.
“In its fourth year, the council tax freeze is now costing the Scottish Government over £300 million a year to sustain, with the small business bonus scheme costing a similar figure despite no evidence of economic benefit to Scotland. These figures show that there are options available for funding higher education through general taxation.
“It is now clear that higher education can be sustained in Scotland without having to resort to a graduate contribution that plunges young people into debt and discourages the poorest from applying. ‘The STUC is looking to the Scottish Government to take all steps necessary to maximise tax revenue in Scotland and to maintain the long held tradition of free education for all.”
For further information contact Helen Martin 0141 337 8100