Tuesday 17 January 2012

Willie Rennie visits Dundee College

Willie and me at Dundee College yesterday

Leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie MSP was in Dundee yesterday to visit Dundee College with me, touring the new Gardyne Campus and also discussing college funding cuts with Principal Christina Potter, Depute Principal Grant Ritchie and Assistant Principal Leslie Dick.    

Speaking after the meeting, Willie said:

“It was great to visit Dundee College today with local Liberal Democrat Councillor Fraser Macpherson.

“Dundee College helps people from a range of backgrounds to get up and on in the world with new skills and knowledge.  Improving the life chances of thousands of people of all ages is something we should support and nourish.

“That’s why it makes no sense to cut £40 million from college funds next year which could mean fewer places students and teaching posts might have to go.

“The Scottish Government has the money available to fill this gap as a result of consequentials from Westminster. So the SNP should get the year of to a good start and reverse this cut.

“This would support colleges like Dundee and the great work it does with students and communities.”

What was obvious from yesterday's meeting is that the new Gardyne Campus facilities are superb but for the college to grow and provide the educational benefits for Dundee students, it is vital that there is clarity from Scottish Government about funding for Dundee College and other further education colleges across Scotland.

The recent announcement from the Education Secretary still leaves colleges across Scotland in the dark about their individual funding allocations and, as a result, planning for next year has been made extremely difficult.

What is obvious is that last year’s 10.4% cut is to be followed by a cut of up to 8.5% next year and this has a hugely detrimental consequence for college places, courses and staff jobs.      Our colleges are vital to the future of the Scottish economy.