Briefings & Evidence

Submission to the Education, Children & Young People Committee Budget 2023 to 2024 session

On Wednesday 17 May, Graeme Dey MSP, Minister for Higher and Further Education; and Minister for Veterans will be giving evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Education, Children and Young People Committee about the Scottish Government Budget 2023-24.

His appearance follows the Scottish Government’s decision to withdraw £46 million of allocated funding to universities and colleges.

Ahead of the meeting, we submitted evidence to the committee about the decision and the repercussions for the sector.

Our evidence highlights:

  • Universities will be cut in cash terms by £7.3 million between financial years, as opposed to the £12.7 million cash increase announced by the Scottish Government on 15 December 2022.
  • The cut occurs in a wider context of challenging public finances but also in a context in which the overall Scottish Government fiscal resource budget for 2023/24 is increasing by 7% in cash terms and the capital budget limit is increasing by 1.9%.
  • The Scottish Government’s deprioritisation of funding for universities is not a new decision for FY/AY 2023/24. This is the latest in a long-term erosion of the real terms value of university funding. Before this decision was taken, university teaching funding had already been cut by the Scottish Government by 27% in real terms between 2014/15 and 2022/23. The main research grant had been cut by 31% in real terms over the same period.
  • This is simply not sustainable and led us to calling the situation a “managed decline” of the sector.