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.
The Scottish Government refuses to acknowledge the way student debt hits young working class people hardest. Even the NUS Scotland virtually ignores the issue. Our leading expert cries shame.
When student loans have become the Scottish government’s biggest financial asset and one in six Scots of working age owes outstanding loan money to Holyrood it’s time to have a serious look – especially when the SG pledged in 2007 to eliminate student debt. Scotland’s leading expert on student finance investigates.
The Scottish Government has been trying to push its so-called plans to hand ownership and control of business water usage to a private English company into the long grass. Time to come crystal clear and transparent on what its real plans are.
Nicola Sturgeon has positioned the Scottish Government as the stoutest defender of the Human Rights Act. But the SNP’s position is not as clear-cut as that, argues penal reformer Lucy Hunter Blackburn.