Martin Ford, the Scottish Greens' top candidate for the North East, today pledged that the party would invest the £904m required both to maintain a free high-quality university sector for Scotland and to overturn SNP cuts to further education.
Greens have set out how the party would meet the £770m estimated funding gap for higher education (1), while also reversing the revenue cuts to further education from the next Scottish Budget at a total estimated cost of £134m. (2) Other parties have made commitments to education, but only Greens have set out sufficient changes to revenue and capital spending to guarantee the additional funding required.
The pledge comes ahead of a visit tomorrow by Martin Ford and Robin Harper, former rector of Aberdeen University, to an Aberdeen University Students' Association project funded by the Scottish Greens' Climate Challenge Fund.
Martin Ford said:
"Scottish students could be forgiven for not trusting politicians pledging to protect education. After all, Labour brought in fees in the first place, the Lib Dems and Tories at Westminster just trebled them, and the SNP have reneged on debt promises and handed on substantial cuts to further education. The simple question to ask those other parties is this: are you prepared to raise new money and commit it to education? If the answer's no, their promises are simply worthless.
"Greens believe a first-class higher education system, collectively funded through fair taxation, is an essential social investment. Our colleges must be supported and our universities open to the best students, not reserved for the better off. A better-educated society is a richer society, and not just in simple economic terms. Whatever happens after the election, Greens will not support any administration that tries to bring back tuition fees or a new additional tax on graduates."
1. See table A2 of the Scottish Government - Universities Scotland Technical Group on Higher Education report, covering 2011-2015:
2. See p140 of the last SNP Budget - £33.5m a year for four years, at 2011 prices:
Posted by Scottish Green Party