“Commentators (myself included) can be pretty critical of the opposition parties at Holyrood for not being more effective. But if the budget document – one of the single most important things the government puts before the Parliament – contains these sort of inconsistencies, they really are up against it.”
“At the very least, the hyping in 2012 of a new of ‘minimum income’ which would benefit all low-income students looks increasingly to have been based on a shoogly set of assumptions about how quite a few of its target audience would respond.”
The Scottish Government is keen to stress the role of college-based HE in getting poorer students into degree courses. But it ignores the cumulative effect of cuts to student bursaries over the years since 2007.
John Swinney is a Big Beast brought in by the First Minister to close the attainment gap in Scottish schools – or “fix” a failing system. Lots of ideas swirling around but a rather vague SNP manifesto – and no clear pointers to the way ahead.
Her choice of Education Minister will be a defining element of Nicola Sturgeon’s likely cabinet reshuffle and of her first full five-year term as First Minister. The agenda could not be tougher or more complex – and the selection of the minister and team full of pitfalls. Here are a few pointers – and runners and riders.
Scotland’s leading expert on HE funding sets out what the parties say about student support in the run-up to the May 5 elections to the parliament.
Ruth Davidson has set out proposals for charging students up to £6000 upon graduation for a 4-year course. But the maths around this idea are not simple as Scotland’s leading expert on student funding explains.
Scottish universities, we learn, have a £60m annual funding gap yet ministers talk as if all young people should go free to university. But how is that wider access to higher education to be financed? A huge hike in taxes? Or what?
The row over a 1p rise in income tax or SRIT has for once put the SNP and Scottish Government on the back foot. And that’s before increases in tax allowances kick in. This leaves local services painfully exposed – with worse to come. Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney need to revise their sums.
The Scottish Government has put the squeeze on spending and staffing levels within some public services. But not others. The agency handling student support, for instance, has had a big boost in staff – unknown to the public and, it seems, MSPs.