Angela Constance admits student bursary support down
Education Secretary seeks correction in official report
Education Secretary Angela Constance has sought to correct the Scottish Parliament’s official report after she claimed there had been no reduction in student bursaries.
In a letter to Labour MSP Michael McMahon she writes: “This correction clarifies there has been no reduction in overall living cost support, as opposed to bursaries, in moving from the old main higher education student support package to the new one in 2013-14”
Scottish Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary Iain Gray said: “It’s welcome that the SNP have finally admitted that bursaries have been cut since they took office.”
Last week the Scottish Government announced it was raising the eligibility threshold for bursaries from £17,000 to £19,000, though Scottish Labour have claimed student bursaries and grants have been cut by £40m in recent years.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions this week, acting Labour leader Kezia Dugdale said: “Despite promising to dump student debt, the reality is that under the SNP it has doubled. That’s not a record to be proud of. The SNP's time in office has been a mixture of ups and downs on education - student debt is up and student bursaries and grants are down.”
In her letter to McMahon, Constance said: “Last week I announced an increase in bursary support for the poorest students for this coming academic year and an increase in the income threshold for receiving the maximum bursary from 2016-2017.
“I remain committed to looking at how we might continue to improve our support for students in the context of a tight financial budget and would be happy to meet with you to discuss further.”
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