No assurances over North East university funding from SNP Ministers

23 November 2016

North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald has criticised SNP Ministers for failing to give assurances that Aberdeen and Robert Gordon universities will not be hit again by funding cuts in the next financial year.

The two city universities were among the four hardest hit by the Scottish Funding Council grant settlement this year. Aberdeen University and RGU both saw a cut in teaching grants and research funding of 3.9% in the current financial year, amounting to an overall reduction of £3million for the University of Aberdeen and £1.4million at RGU.

The University of Dundee also saw a cut of 3.9% (£2.6million), as did the University of Edinburgh.

Lewis said :

“Shirley-Anne Somerville told Parliament today that next year’s funding settlement will be a “challenging” one for some universities, at what are “challenging times for the North East”.

“These words will be heard with great concern by universities in Aberdeen, as the Minister for Higher Education appears to acknowledge the challenge to come but gives no undertaking about protecting universities in the North East despite the wider economic issues facing the region.

“Aberdeen and Robert Gordon universities have been hit hard this year by the cuts imposed by the Scottish Funding Council on behalf of the Scottish Government, and both have had to cut teaching staff as a result of this loss of funding.

Only recently Aberdeen University revealed that Medical School staff could face compulsory redundancies before Christmas.

“All our universities face an uncertain few weeks, until they find out their funding settlement for 2017/18.

“It would simply not be acceptable for North East universities to bear the brunt of funding cuts two years in a row.

"I will continue to press SNP Ministers for a commitment that Aberdeen and Robert Gordon universities will have the funding they need to support staff and students going forward.”

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