Colleges (Capital Spending Plans)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 6th February 2019.

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Photo of Mary Fee Mary Fee Labour

3. To ask the Scottish Government what the impact will be of the college capital spending plans in the draft budget. (S5O-02851)

Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

The 2019-20 draft budget for college capital will continue to provide funding for the maintenance of the college sector estate and the completion of the new Forth Valley College campus in Falkirk.

The Scottish Further and Higher Education Funding Council will allocate this year’s funding for college maintenance with a view to meeting priority needs, and will publish indicative allocations for institutions by the end of February.

Photo of Mary Fee Mary Fee Labour

The minister will know that the Scottish funding council has estimated that up to £360 million of investment is required over the next five years to make college campuses wind and watertight. Does the minister not accept that the draft budget delivers nowhere near the investment that the Government’s own report says is needed?

Photo of Richard Lochhead Richard Lochhead Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government, through the Scottish funding council, is working closely with our colleges and universities with regard to capital expenditure.

The member is quite right—of course there is huge pressure on our capital budget. That pressure is across the Scottish Government; it is not just an issue for further and higher education. We would like more United Kingdom funding to come to Scotland, to allow us to allocate higher levels of the necessary investment in our infrastructure for our colleges.

More than £47.6 million of the draft budget will be used for the sector’s priority needs. We have been negotiating with the sector on that basis. We would all love to have more money in the budget. Of course, the Labour Party had the opportunity to negotiate with the Scottish Government on the budget, but it did not take up that opportunity.