Briefings & Evidence

Budget scrutiny: Submission to the Finance and Public Administration Committee

We have made a submission to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance and Public Administration Committee ahead of their session tomorrow 9 January to scrutinise the 2024/25 budget, set out by the Scottish Government on 19 December.

Our call to action is that additional funding might be found, during the passage of the budget bill, to reduce the scale of the cut to the resource budget, to protect the university teaching grant as far as possible in the interests of Scottish students.

We have outlined some key considerations for the committee to reflect on ahead of their session tomorrow which includes:

  • The financial year to academic year conversion may compound the pressure of cuts.
  • It is significant that the HE resource budget for 24/25 is lower than flat cash (-3.6%) as this could have further negative funding implications for universities in the current academic year (23/24).
  • The academic year runs four months beyond every financial year. When converting the financial year (FY) budget to an academic year (AY) allocation for universities, the Funding Council manages this uncertainty by making a cautious assumption that the next FY settlement will be flat cash for HE. If/when the next FY is lower than flat cash, it has to be managed, in part, within the existing academic year.
  • The 24/25 FY resource budget line raises the risk that universities will see cuts intensified in AY 2023/24 (on top of the £20 million already withdrawn in-year) as well as planned cuts in AY 2024/25.

We have also highlighted where the funding allocation for higher education could affect student numbers, widening access and how the funding may be allocated.

You can read our full response to the budget here.