Higher Education

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:39 pm on 13th June 2007.

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Photo of Fiona Hyslop Fiona Hyslop Scottish National Party 2:39 pm, 13th June 2007

We will monitor the impact of that policy. We think that fear of debt is one of the biggest barriers that prevents those from the more deprived backgrounds from entering higher education.

Alex Neil mentioned the Conservatives. I was trying to be gentle to Murdo Fraser and not remind him of his party's past policies. He was quite keen to quote the SNP's 2003 manifesto, but I was being rather gallant—perhaps the fact that I was being gallant tells us something about this Parliament's equal opportunities policies—and did not remind him of his party's previous manifesto commitments.

We have heard arguments about responsible Government. We know that the Conservatives want to ensure that we have astute public finances. I ask members to reflect on the inefficiencies that arise through the policy of delivering student support via the graduate endowment fee. We might as well cut out the middle man and give people the money directly, which will ensure that students are not burdened by current levels of debt.