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Concerns about Dundee and Angus College cuts raised by councillors and Chamber of Commerce

October 8, 2011 7:09 AM

Cllr Fraser MacphersonYesterday (Friday 7th October), on the day the First Minister opened the refurbished Dundee College premises, two leading Dundee and Angus councillors met with Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce regarding their joint concerns at huge cuts to the college budgets at Angus College and Dundee College.

Convener of Angus Council's Infrastructure Committee, Cllr David May, and Dundee City Council Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Cllr Fraser Macpherson (pictured right), met with Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Alan Mitchell, to discuss the implications of the cuts in college funding in terms of discontinued courses and job losses.

The Chamber of Commerce has made clear it will seek clarification from Scottish Government about the level of revenue budget cuts affecting the colleges that, for example, amount to a 13.5% reduction for Dundee College in cash terms during the period 2012/13 and 2014/15.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Fraser Macpherson said, "It is great to see the official opening of the Dundee College improved campus facilities today, but the budget cuts facing the college are far greater than those facing much of the rest of the public sector. The First Minister must rethink his priorities to give more priority to further education, otherwise the government's promise that all 16-19 year olds should have a place in education or training will not be met and young people and others will be denied choices and chances. Free prescriptions for millionaires should not be a priority; further education must be."

After having this year's (2011/12) funding cut by 10.4% which resulted in Dundee College having to implement £4m of savings, resulting in 120 staff job losses and a number of course cutbacks, it now appears that during the period 2012/13 - 2014/15, Dundee College funding will be cut by a further 13.5% in cash terms. These cuts are front loaded with a 7% cash cut in 2012/13. This represents a cash reduction of £1.4m for Dundee College.

Cllr Macpherson added, "At a time when the First Minister says he wants to invest in jobs and growth, this makes no economic sense."

Cllr David May said, "I am very concerned about a similar level of massive cuts at Angus College and will be meeting the College Principal about it. It is vital that these college budget cuts are reviewed and decreased. Otherwise, we are cutting the opportunities available to our young people."