Comment on the Resource Spending Review
The Resource Spending Review announced today by the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy puts Scotland’s 26 colleges in a challenging position for the coming years with inflation likely to remove any benefits gained by the certainty of future funding.
Colleges are facing a real terms budget cut for 2022/23 of £51.9million, with colleges predicted to face an operating deficit of £5.7million by the end of this academic year.
Details on the proportion of funding which colleges will receive in future years was not part of the announcement today, but the ‘flat cash’ position of the Scottish Funding Council, which in turn delivers funding to colleges across the country, means the impacts of inflation will almost certainly result in more cuts for the sector.
Colleges Scotland has offered to work closely with Scottish Government and the SFC on how best they can support colleges to thrive, given the role that colleges have in turn in building Scotland’s future workforce, providing the labour market with the skills needed to tackle the climate emergency, supporting people move out of poverty through education and training, and being civic anchors in communities across the country.
Andy Witty, Director of Sector Policy at Colleges Scotland said: “The Cabinet Secretary has clearly laid out the challenges facing Scotland’s finances. Colleges will not be alone in facing a real terms cut to their budgets in the coming years. There will inevitably be changes to colleges in the years to come because of the financial decisions Scottish Government is making now.
“When colleges thrive, Scotland thrives, and we will continue to make the case for strong investment in our students who enjoy world-class education and training and support Scotland’s economic recovery.
“Colleges are providing at pace the education and training that people need as they change careers, adapt to new digital work places and as new markets emerge such as hybrid car mechanics, a resurgence in hospitality opportunities, and tackling cyber crime. Students who come to college are the people who are helping Scotland recover from Covid in health and social care careers, in early years education, and in new industries like e-sport and green energy technologies. Colleges will be more important than ever in the next five years to support and underpin other Scottish Government priorities.”