20 Nov 2012
Further clarification has been demanded from the Scottish Government surrounding two issues on the college budget following an appearance in Parliament today by education secretary Mike Russell.
He appeared in order to apologise after the SNP stated last week that college budgets had not been cut, when in-fact they had.
However, after his answers, the Scottish Conservatives have demanded further clarification on two key matters.
Scottish Conservative education spokeswoman Liz Smith MSP said:
“Over the last few days we have seen a total shambles unfolding within Mike Russell’s and Alex Salmond’s handling of the college budget.
“Despite the education secretary’s attempt to close down matters at Topical Questions, he is still prevaricating over what the exact figures are and what money has been spent in which time period.
“The key question colleges want answered is the scale of their real term cuts between 2011-12 and 2014-15.
“With the revised figures issued by the First Minister and the admission today from Mike Russell that his figures were wrong, it looks as though the real-terms cut is actually more than 24 per cent.
“The Scottish Government, yet again, needs to explain itself.”
Scottish Conservative finance spokesman Gavin Brown MSP said:
“We need clarification on whether any of the £13 million entitled ‘college places SDS’ was actually spent in 2011-12.
“The Scottish Government’s own budget revision document refers to £8 million for 2012-13, not £13 million.
“But analysis by SPICe suggests it should be £8 million for 2012-13 and £5 million for 2011-12, totalling £13 million.
“Mike Russell said his figures were robust – but it’s beginning to appear like that isn’t the case at all.”