Students’ support should be based on living wage, says Baillie

Glasgow University and West College in Clydebank.

By Lizzie Healey

Scottish Labour has committed to reforming the country’s student support system by implementing the Independent Review into Student Support in full.

Dumbarton and Lomond constituency MSP, Jackie Baillie, has backed the plans saying that the SNP Government has given students in Scotland a raw deal.

The Independent Review into Student Support, which was published in 2017, promised a ‘new social contract for students’.

The report included three key provisions; an entitlement to a Minimum Student Income for those studying in both Higher and Further education, based on the Scottish Government’s Living Wage; the re-balancing of support from loans back towards bursaries; and reform of college student support.

Instead of accepting the report in full, the SNP Government watered down their approach and ditched the recommendation of a new Minimum Student Income.

Experts such as the Commissioner for Fair Access highlight that student support is key to widening access to further and higher education, and ensuring that students can complete their courses. However, bursaries for the poorest students are £600 lower in cash terms than they were in 2012 when the current Scottish Government slashed them.

Baillkie Jackie 101Jackie Baillie, right,  said: “The SNP should have used the Independent Review into Student Support as a start towards restoring equity and fairness in our system and re-balancing support in favour of bursaries. Instead, they took a watered down approach and scrapped the proposal to introduce a Minimum Income for Students.

“For too long, college students have had a raw deal and it is only right that parity between further and higher education is increased.

“This government have consistently let students down; by scrapping their pledge to get rid of student debt in 2007; with their ‘reforms’ to student loans in 2012; and with their timid response to this review.

“Scottish Labour would implement the recommendations in this review and create a system which supports all students.”

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