Lamont warned off attacking Scottish universities

higher education
Published on Monday, 17 December 2012 09:59
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Johann Lamont has been warned that she must think carefully before her Cuts Commission launches an attack on students and Scotland's highly successful university sector.

Reports in today's Mail on Sunday claim that Johann Lamont will mark her first year as leader of the Labour party in Scotland with a speech tomorrow (Monday) in which she will attack the SNP's policy of no tuition fees for people in Scotland.

During the 2011 Scottish Parliament election, every single Labour MSP signed up to a pledge to rule out the introduction of tuition fees.

Figures released last week reveal that Scotland has seen a 0.3% rise in the number of students applying to go to university, while in England where students face the prospect of tuition fees of £9,000 a year the number has fallen by 6.6%.

Meanwhile, the QS university rankings released in September ranked three of Scotland's universities in the world's top 100. Scotland's universities also punch well above Scotland's population share when it comes to innovation, contributing 12.4% of all UK research.

Commenting, SNP MSP Clare Adamson who sits on the Education and Culture Committee said:

"If these reports are accurate, then it is an absolute mystery why Labour's Cuts Commission would want to attack and undermine what is one of Scotland's greatest success stories.

"Johann Lamont should think very carefully before going down this path. Nick Clegg was forced to issue a humiliating apology to students south of the border after his party abandoned its principles on tuition fees - and they have been practically wiped out as a significant political force in Scotland.

"Does Johann Lamont intend to make a similar apology to Scotland's students for abandoning the solemn pledge she and her party made to them - and accept the same consequences?

"With Johann Lamont now pursuing a policy agenda that has Westminster's fingerprints all over it, today's revelation that Labour's new General Secretary in Scotland will report to party bosses in London should come as no surprise to anyone.

"The fact of the matter is that in Scotland student numbers have risen, we are contributing far more than our population share of developments in university research, and three of our universities are in the world's top 100.

"Given these fantastic successes, why on earth does she want to move us towards a situation like south of the border, where the effect of tuition fees is turning potential students away in their thousands?

"It is simply the latest demonstration that only a Yes vote in 2014 will protect Scotland from the dismal prospect of the progress that has been made by the Scottish Parliament being rolled back by parties pursuing a Westminster agenda."

Source: ©SNP

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