SNP failing to stand up for poorest students

Published on Friday, 05 October 2012 16:18
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

Scottish Labour has criticised Education Secretary Mike Russell for failing to stand up for Scotland's poorest students.

Mr Russell – who was humiliated this week into recanting his views on the affordability of universal benefits – has been challenged to match his rhetoric with action and target Scotland's scarce resources towards students who need them most.

It follows his decision to force students to top up their budgets with loans by cutting college bursaries by £900 and target colleges for 20 per cent cuts. He has also accepted this week that he has failed to make any progress on widening university access.

It has also emerged that Kate Higgins, an influential SNP blogger known as 'burdzeyeview', has broken ranks and criticised the education system under the SNP for failing to support students who can least afford to go to university.

Hugh Henry, Scottish Labour's education spokesman, said: "Scottish students and parents will find it difficult to take anything Mike Russell says seriously after his embarrassing u-turn this week.

"He wanted to cut public spending in Scotland during the economic boom and privatise the NHS but has changed his mind on the affordability of universal services now that he has got a ministerial car.

"This week he has admitted a complete failure in widening access to universities while he is cutting college places and bursaries for our poorest students.

"At least some in the SNP have the courage to face up to the looming spending crisis and I welcome Kate Higgins contribution to the debate over our future.

"Scottish students can't wait for Mike Russell to change his mind again, they need his support now."

Source: ©Scottish Labour

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