The autonomy of the higher education institutions is derived from the status of the higher education institutions. There is total consistency between the answer that I just gave Parliament and the statement that was made by the Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science at the Universities Scotland event last night.
Of course I am aware of the unease within the universities—I read the newspapers and watch BBC Scotland. However, I am also absolutely determined that our university sector will be an autonomous sector that is able to exercise the same academic independence that it has today. We have to handle with great care the issues in connection with the board of the Scottish funding council in order to ensure that we can protect the independence of the university sector and guarantee that there is no reason for the sector to have the concerns that it currently has.