Local MSP Jackie Baillie has hit out at the Scottish Government’s college cuts following the publication of new figures which show that the number of students in Scotland’s colleges has plummeted to the lowest level on record.
The official figures show that there are 152,000 fewer college students since the SNP took office in 2007. Student numbers at West College Scotland, which has campuses in Clydebank, Paisley and Greenock, have been slashed by more than 7,000.
The figures were released by the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Government body that distributes cash among colleges, as SNP Finance Minister announced a further real terms cut to college funding in his draft budget.
“These figures are absolutely shocking and demonstrate the massive scale of the SNP’s cuts to colleges. Since the SNP came to power and set its sights on college funding, Dumbarton has lost its own campus and student numbers have been cut by over 7,000 at West College Scotland. “Part-time courses have borne the brunt of the cuts. Second chance learners, new mums returning to work, workers attending night school and people with learning disabilities have all paid the price of the SNP’s austerity. This will have a huge impact on the economy and the skills available in the local workforce for years to come unless we start putting money back into colleges.”