An annual Audit Scotland report on the performance of Scotland’s colleges in 2013 has laid bare the damage the SNP Government’s cuts have had on the college sector. In the space of one year, student numbers have dropped from 306,000 to 258,000; college staff numbers have dropped from 12,600 to 11,600 and hours of learning delivered by colleges has dropped from 83 million to 78 million.
A comparison of the figures also shows the scale of SNP college cuts, with overall expenditure by colleges between 2010/11 and 2011/12 decreasing by £83 million.
Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown said this week that Scotland’s Colleges are key to giving people, particularly young people, the skills to get and hold jobs in difficult economic times.
Robert Brown said:
“This is a really worrying report which will have implications for students in Rutherglen and Cambuslang as well as across Scotland.
This report lays bare the impact of the SNP Government cuts on Scotland’s colleges. In the space of one year there are 48,000 fewer student places, 1000 fewer full-time equivalent college staff and 5 million fewer hours of learning being delivered. This makes a travesty of the idea that the Scottish Government is supporting economic revival.
Colleges have been given the almost insurmountable task of delivering challenging reforms whilst finding ways to cut £34 million from college budgets. This will also limit, as the Report makes clear, opportunities for older people in the area who need to return to training, such as parents or those who find themselves out of work.
Building a stronger economy and a fairer society will only be achieved if we give colleges the tools they need to help the most people get on in life. Sadly, the SNP’s legacy of cuts to colleges.