Universities Scotland react to Scottish Government Budget

Following yesterday’s Scottish Government Budget published in the Scottish Parliament, which saw a 0% change in real terms to universities budgets, Professor Andrea Nolan, Convener of Universities Scotland said:

“This budget gives university funding real terms protection at 0%. The reality is that universities have no more money, in real terms, to spend on students and staff than they had last year.

“We said this year’s budget was pivotal and we welcome the fact that the settlement interrupts a five year pattern of real terms cuts to universities. However, it does not relieve the set of funding pressures facing universities. What they need now is for this to be a turning point, with significant new investment to follow, so that universities get to a sustainable funding position and can fully support Scotland’s success.” 


The Scottish Government Budget sets out the total funding commitment to universities below:

  2019-20 Budget 2020-21 Budget Research re-categorisation 2020-21 Budget following research re-categorisation Effective cash transfer[1]


1,044.2 -301.0 743.2




41.2 +301.0 342.2


Financial Transactions


55.0 55.0




1,140.4 0 1,140.4



Scottish Government and Scottish Funding Council (SFC) officials have indicated to Universities Scotland that the re-categorisation has no implication for the ability of the SFC to deploy funding to existing funding streams as is merely a change in accounting practice.

[1] Cash difference between 2020-21 and 2019-20 before resource re-categorisation.