Ministers must reverse decision to abolish agency boards
Ross Greer MSP, Education & Skills spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, today (7 Dec) challenged Scottish Ministers to walk back their decision to merge the boards of the Scottish Funding Council, Skills Development Scotland, Highlands & Islands Enterprise and Scottish Enterprise before fully understanding the implications.
At today's meeting of Holyrood's Education committee, Mr Greer highlighted the threat to university funding from perceptions that the proposed single board would be too close to government.
Mr Greer asked Economy Secretary Keith Brown to rule out the possibility of a government minister chairing the new board but the Cabinet Secretary did not do so.
Ross Greer, Education spokesperson for the Scottish Greens and MSP for West of Scotland, said:
"Our universities' funding, particularly from charitable foundations, is at risk due to Scottish Ministers' bizarre decision to press ahead with scrapping the board of the Scottish Funding Council – and thus the SFC itself - before truly considering what impact it might have. Students, lecturers and university bosses have warned that if the government is seen to increase its power to direct universities, the impact on attracting investment would be severe.
"Ministers must reverse their decision to abolish the existing boards in favour of this monster of a multi-agency board. They have not been able to explain what is driving this rushed merger. We have countless examples of other flawed Scottish Government decisions such as merging police forces and fire brigades, and laws such as the Offensive Behaviour Act which should show them that starting with a decision and then trying to work out how or even if it will work is not how government should operate. We cannot make the same kind of mistake with our higher education sector."