Hands off further education

MSPs from across the country are fighting to prevent cuts at Motherwell College
MSPs from across the country are fighting to prevent cuts at Motherwell College

ACROSS the country MSPs have been backing Motherwell and Wishaw MSP John Pentland’s motion criticising the Scottish Government’s further education proposals which are likely to see Motherwell College faced with a 20 per cent cut in its budget.

The Times & Speaker has spoken to Mr Pentland, college principal Hugh Logan and student representative Angie Donnachie, who each expressed their disappointment in finance secretary John Swinney’s announcement that the further education budget is to be slashed by £74 million and the effect it could have on Motherwell College (see October 13 edition).

Mr Pentland is worried an area with higher than average unemployment and deprivation will continue to suffer, Mr Logan admitted it was ‘inconceivable’ staff and student numbers could be maintained while Ms Donnachie believes the cuts are a short-term fix leading to further problems.

The Times & Speaker has been talking to a number of the MSPs who have signed Mr Pentland’s motion asking them why they have decided to give their support.

Uddingston and Bellshill MSP Michael McMahon was first to sign up as he is worried the precedent cuts forced upon Angus College will be repeated in Lanarkshire.

He said: “If Motherwell College were to be affected in the way Angus College has been with them cutting 2,000 student places the impact on my area would be devastating.

“Youth unemployment is back to the levels of the bad old days of Thatcher yet the SNP Government is not putting Scotland’s budget to good use helping our young people get into employment, further education or training.

“The SNP need to get its priorities right and spend Scotland’s finances on those who need it most.”

Find out what the other supporters of the motion have to say about the proposed cuts in the Motherwell College budget in the October 27 edition of Times & Speaker.

Have your say: is the Scottish Government right to cut the further education budget or should establishments like Motherwell College be offered better protection in the current financial climate?

Contact the Times & Speaker with your thoughts by e-mailing motherwell.times@jnscotland.co.uk, tweet @TimesSpeaker or find Motherwell Times on Facebook.