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Concerns have been expressed to me about the level of consultation with staff, students and the wider public. Concerns were also expressed around access to public funds for further and higher education and the impact of privatisation on staff’s terms and conditions. In order to allay those fears, can the minister advise me what protections would be available in the event of privatisation, and say whether privatisation will be blocked, should it carry such risks?
The proposal has been developed locally and we await a final business case to be signed off by the Scottish Funding Council, which the Scottish Government would consult on before any legislation was put in place to make the merger officially happen.
With regard to the funding, a financial memorandum would have to be put together and signed for the new merger, should it proceed. The memorandum would also be signed off by the Scottish Funding Council. Processes are in place to make sure that such matters are in order. If Rhoda Grant has specific concerns, she should write to me and I will have them looked at.