£20m cut “extremely disappointing”

This afternoon (Tuesday 2 May), Principals of Scotland’s universities were informed by the Scottish Funding Council that the £20 million of additional resource funding allocated to the sector in December’s budget by the Scottish Government is now “not available for distribution and has been identified as a necessary saving”.

Universities were told that Scottish Government now requires this money to meet other priorities.

Responding to today’s letter, Professor Dame Sally Mapstone, Convener of Universities Scotland said:

“Universities Scotland is extremely disappointed by the Scottish Government’s decision to cut the funding promised to higher education.

“The Scottish Government heralded £20 million additional revenue investment in higher education as good news when they announced the Scottish Budget on 15 December last year. It was far from what was required to meet students’ increasingly complex needs, or to sustain Scotland as a powerhouse of research and innovation, but it was a welcome step in the right direction.

“It is therefore dismaying when almost half a year later we are told that higher education is being deprioritised by Scottish Government, despite the Scottish Parliament having voted for a Scottish Budget that provided for a £20 million cash increase in investment in higher education. This will compromise our capacity to contribute to the nation’s recovery.

“The Scottish Government needs a plan for universities, staff, and students. It cannot keep expecting to have world-class universities on the cheap.”


  • “We must have a skills, training and research environment that enables our people and businesses to realise their potential. For that reason we have increased the resources available to the College and university sectors by £26 million and £20 million to support this process.” – Budget statement 2023 to 2024. Statement given to Parliament by the Deputy First Minister on Thursday, 15 December 2022.
  • “Increase resource funding to our universities and colleges by £46 million to ensure we have a highly qualified and highly skilled workforce.” – Scottish Government Budget document.
  • Universities Scotland response to the Scottish Government budget, December 2022.