FMQs: Parties clash over tuition fees

Scotland will have a better solution to university funding than the "punitive" and "extraordinary" rises in tuition fees facing students south of the border, First Minister Alex Salmond said today.

Mr Salmond had been challenged by Labour's Iain Gray to set out how his SNP administration would fund higher education in the future.

He pressed the First Minister on the issue the day after university and college chiefs in Scotland warned institutions could fail, with thousands of jobs losses if expected funding cuts of up to 16% are introduced next year.

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UK ministers yesterday confirmed students in England could pay up to 9,000 a year in tuition fees from 2012 - three times the current amount.

Mr Gray accused the Scottish Government of being too slow in finding a solution to the issue as he warned universities in Scotland were being "jeopardised by Alex Salmond's bull".

Labour's Holyrood leader said his party had first called for a review of funding for the sector almost two years ago, adding: "If we had done that now, we would have a solution."

He also accused the First Minister of "kicking this off into the long grass the other side of the election".

But Mr Salmond hit back: "If Iain Gray had an answer to this question, he wouldn't be suggesting a review, he would be telling us what his proposal was."