£15m fund to pay-off staff as part of college mergers

A £15 million “transformation fund” for Scotland’s colleges will be used to speed up mergers by paying for voluntary redundancy schemes.

In a letter to college principals, education secretary Mike Russell said the success of the college reforms was “critically dependent on moving swiftly to effective new regional delivery structures in the regions”.

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Sign up to our Politics newsletter

Scotland’s colleges will see their overall budget slashed from £544.7m this year to £506.9m in 2012/13, with planned budgets of £494.7m in 2013/14 and £470.7m in 2014/15.

Scottish Lib Dem education spokesman Liam McArthur said the education secretary had “thrown in the towel” in the fight to reverse cuts to Scottish college budgets.

Mr McArthur said: “Astonishingly, he appears to have thrown in the towel and believes the £40m cut is a ‘full, fair and final settlement’, despite the fact that the Budget Bill will not be finally agreed for another month.”