Universities Scotland gave a very strong welcome to the Scottish Government’s three-year spending plans announced today (Wednesday 21 September), which included an additional £135.5million per year for university teaching and research in cash terms by 2014/15.
Responding to the announcement, Professor Seamus McDaid, Convener of Universities Scotland, said:
“This is a very significant investment in Scotland’s universities and one which will put the sector on a competitive footing for the future. The Scottish Government has acted to close the teaching funding gap facing Scotland’s universities.”
“As a sector we will respond to this vote of confidence by delivering the high-level skills, world-leading research and partnerships with business needed to help drive Scotland’s economic growth.
“We will also press ahead with our programme for efficiencies. This will ensure that every pound of this new investment enables us to provide a top-quality education for learners from every background, sustains Scotland as a powerhouse of research and builds our capacity to help businesses to succeed.”
Welcoming today’s spending plans, Professor Sir Tim O’Shea, Vice Convener of Universities Scotland and Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of Edinburgh said:
“This settlement marks a serious commitment to Scotland’s universities and gives the sector renewed confidence about our ability to compete with the best.
“It enables us to invest in making sure our learners have the internationally-competitive quality of experience they deserve, and that we develop Scottish universities’ standing as leaders in the research which will create a better world.
“The protection of our international standing is vital if we are to continue to deliver for Scotland and continue to lever-in well over £1 billion every year to the Scottish economy from UK and international sources.”
The additional cash investment in Scotland’s universities of £135.5million by 2014/15 relative to 2011/12 as a baseline, follows last year’s budget settlement for 2011/12 in which Scottish Funding Council teaching grants to universities were cut by 11 per cent. Today’s reversal of funding cuts and significant new investment in university teaching and research over the next three years will enable Scotland’s universities to remain on a competitive footing with those in England and internationally.
The teaching funding gap has been closed by the additional public investment announced today and by drawing on an estimated £56 million of income to be generated from rest-of-UK fees by 2014/15 and cash-releasing efficiency savings of £26 million delivered by the sector in 2014/15.
Professor Steve Chapman, Principal of Heriot Watt University and Convener of Universities Scotland’s Funding Policy Group said:
“I am personally delighted the Scottish Government has recognised the importance of the HE sector in the spending review. Given the economic climate, this is a massive commitment to universities. The government has given us the resources to power ahead and it is now our job to deliver for Scotland. The Government is to be congratulated.”
This funding settlement comes only a week after the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong learning set out his pre-legislative paper for post-16 reform. Speaking about the wider funding and policy environment facing universities, Professor McDaid said:
“This announcement should be seen against a background of wider policy developments. In particular, we are committed to working in partnership with colleges, schools and those beyond the education sector, to ensure that we are helping individuals to realise their full potential and helping Scotland to realise our shared ambitions for prosperity, confidence and social wellbeing.”
- The Scottish Government Spending Review 2011 & Draft Budget 2012-13 can be found here: www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2011/09/21104525/0
- Funding allocations for universities can be found in Chapter 9 in table 9.06 which shows detailed (level 3) spending plans for universities.