Students protest against college cuts

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ANGUS College students took to the college green on Tuesday lunchtime to demonstrate against the proposed budget cuts to further education.

Exactly 400 students gathered outside the college to represent the total number of full-time places that could be lost if cuts proposed by the Scottish Government go ahead.

It is thought that a new budget would see the college take a 13.5 per cent hit to funding, despite the establishment already having to make savings of 10.3 per cent, through schemes such as staff severance packages and reduced working hours.

But it is now feared further cuts could impact on student places and as well as 400 full-time places, a further 1,200 part time places will be lost.

Graeme Kirkpatrick, depute president of the National Union of Students Scotland, visited the protest event.

He said: “The demonstration shows the real concern of students, not only in Angus, but across colleges in Scotland.

“The SNP made a manifesto commitment to protect numbers and every SNP candidate made a personal pledge to protect college places. They can’t go back on it now, closing college doors to tens of thousands of talented people.

“We know the devastating damage last year’s cut had on quality, teaching time, and on wider support and guidance to students.

“These cuts have had a real impact on the lives of those studying at college and I don’t know if students will be able to take any further hit on the frontline services and opportunities that colleges provide.”

Tuesday’s demonstration by students came off the back of Labour leader Iain Gray taking first minister Alex Salmond to task over the proposed cuts to Angus College.

During First Minister’s Questions, Mr Gray asked the SNP leader if there would be cuts to Angus College and other institutions in Scotland.

But Mr Salmond replied by saying plans for funding for each individual college were still to be finalised.