Disagreement over further education funding

SNP Paul Wheelhouse
SNP Paul Wheelhouse

Ending free higher education in Scotland would be “hugely damaging” to the Scottish Borders according to SNP South of Scotland MSP Paul Wheelhouse.

He was responding to Scottish Conservative proposals to introduce a graduate contribution for further education should they come into power at the May Scottish Parliament elections.

Mr Wheelhouse was less than impressed with the idea and said: “The Tories claim that their further education colleges policy will be funded ‘in its entirety’ by a graduate contribution - meaning payment from those studying at higher education level – but without any detail about how much university students would be expected to pay, or exactly when they would have to start paying it.

“This means their colleges policy has absolutely no credibility whatsoever and their implied policy on imposing tuition costs to study at university to pay for it would be hugely damaging in an area like the Scottish Borders where on average people earn comparatively low wages.

“It is also completely unacceptable to leave those young people in the Scottish Borders who are considering going to university languishing in the dark about what it will cost them.

“As long as there is an SNP Scottish Government here, able to take a distinctly different path to that of England, then education will never become the market-driven, wealth-determined lottery it has become south of the border, which the Tories clearly want to see happen here too.

“With Labour all over the place on university tuition fees, and the Lib Dems almost wiped out because of their own infamous broken promises to students it is clear that only a vote for a re-elected SNP Government in May’s election can safeguard Scotland’s proud tradition of free tuition for undergraduate students.”