Figures show that the merger of Stevenson, Telford and Jewel & Esk to form the Edinburgh College is set to cost around £17 million, more than the £15m “transformation fund” set up to fund mergers across the whole of Scotland.
Scottish Lib Dem education spokesman Liam McArthur said: “Ministers have constantly asserted that merging Scotland’s colleges will deliver huge savings to the public purse. While we support the need for reorganisation, this is a setback to that argument.
“Most experts have always viewed the ministers’ assertions with a high degree of scepticism. The figures released confirm that even where savings will be made in the future, in the short term the cost of these mergers is high.”
He added: “There will also be real concerns that the funds set up to cover the costs of reorganisation will be swallowed up by a handful of high-profile mergers.”