MSP wants best outcome for college

ANGUS South MSP Graeme Dey has pledged to continue to work with the education minister and Angus College to help it avoid the brunt of crippling budget cuts.

It is thought that the college could be left with having 10 per cent slashed from its budget and there are worries this could have an affect on the number of student places.

And now local MSP Mr Dey has said he is in constant contact with cabinet secretary for education Mike Russell and college principal John Burt to try and make sure the college is not too badly affected by the upcoming reform to further education.

Mr Dey met with Mr Russell in Holyrood last week and then with Mr Burt the following day in Arbroath.

He explained: “I’ve been talking regularly with Mike Russell and John Burt for some time now and I think everyone concerned is engaging positively in trying to secure the best possible outcome for Angus College.

“The college board are looking at how they can participate in the proposed new regional structure for further education and Mr Burt has come up with some constructive proposals which I have raised with the cabinet secretary on their behalf.

“I have also asked Mike Russell whether it might be possible to make available transition funding to assist colleges like Angus meet the challenges that the changes they are facing will present.

“And despite the very obvious financial difficulties confronting the Scottish Government after having £1.3 billion cut from their budget by the UK Conservative-Lib-Dem coalition, he has assured me he is looking at every possibility.”

The education minister is set to visit Angus College later this month to talk to staff and students.

Already members of the Unison union, who are concerned by the potential cuts, urged local people to sign a petition against the funding decreases on Saturday and have warned that the college is a valuable community asset.

Mr Dey added: “The visit of Mr Russell will allow senior management at the college an opportunity to hold face to face discussions with the cabinet secretary who will also be meeting representatives of the EIS, Unison and the students.”