Further and Higher Education

Scottish EXECUTIVE – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:30 pm on 17th June 1999.

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Photo of Marilyn Livingstone Marilyn Livingstone Labour 2:30 pm, 17th June 1999

To ask the Scottish Executive if it will inform the Parliament of the provision it intends to make as a result of the comprehensive spending review for an increase in grant to further and higher education over the next three years. (S1O-47)

Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish Labour

Further and higher education in Scotland is to receive a massive boost over the period covered by the comprehensive spending review. In total, the FE and HE budgets will receive an additional £493 million over the period to support further increases in student numbers, promote wider access, modernise and improve quality and improve standards.

Photo of Marilyn Livingstone Marilyn Livingstone Labour

On the question of widening access, has any provision been made to give priority to the needs of the most vulnerable and those in our communities who feel excluded?

Photo of Henry McLeish Henry McLeish Labour

Yes, because as part of the expansion of funding in higher and further education we want to widen access. In particular, we want to focus on those groups that need special assistance. The disabled students allowance, for example, is paid to eligible students in higher education who, as a result of their disability, face extra costs in attending their course. We are also using access funds to tackle particular problems that students face. The total provided for access in 1998-99 was £8.76 million. As part of the partnership agreement between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, that will be increased to £14 million in 2001-02. This is a priority area to which the Executive is giving its full attention.