This week, the Scottish Government announced the withdrawal of the additional £20 million resource for universities it announced in the December budget. This has caused deep concern as universities in Scotland are facing real terms cuts and remain under resourced as further cuts take place.
Universities Scotland Convener, Professor Dame Sally Mapstone, Principal of the University of St Andrews wrote an opinion piece for The Scotsman, reporting on which appeared as the paper’s lead item. In this piece, Sally said:
“I understand that when budgets are tight, governments have to make difficult choices, but they are choices and this one tells us a great deal about the new administration’s priorities,”
“The decision is short-sighted, divisive, and brings into question the true value the Scottish Government places on higher education.
“The choice to disinvest from higher education is a blow to our students, our staff, and our contribution to building a better Scotland, and a better world.”
Professor Dame Mapstone had already warned the Scottish Government of the managed decline universities were facing in the Scottish Funding Council’s indicative allocations. Now, universities are facing further hardship with this withdrawal.
MSPs are also bewildered at this withdrawal of money. Stephen Kerr MSP asked an urgent question in the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday afternoon asking why this funding had been taken back. He asked “will the Scottish Government whether it will provide further explanation of the removal of the £46m for colleges and universities in Scotland”.
You can listen to Universities Scotland Director, Alastair Sim speaking to BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme, where he reflected on what the decision by the Scottish Government.
“We’re used to punching above our weight but that’s been eroded badly by Scottish Government underfunding” – @AlastairSimUS pic.twitter.com/IfYefsbYYK
— Universities Scotland (@uni_scot) May 3, 2023
You can read our full media release here.