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Catch-up cash for academe

An extra Pounds 230 million is being pumped into higher education, starting with Pounds 53 million next year. The Education Minister said this would "more than make good" the funding deficit from the previous government. Annual efficiency gains, running at 2.75 per cent, are being reduced to 1 per cent.

An additional Pounds 23 million will go on improving infrastructure in areas of research excellence vital for sectors of the economy. It had already been announced that Pounds 2 million a year will be available to waive tuition fees for up to 3,000 part-time students.

Universities are also expected to share in the Pounds 600 million plan to refurbish science laboratories and research centres, which is partly funded by the Wellcome Trust, and the extra Pounds 400 million for UK research councils which past performance suggests could mean another Pounds 55 million for Scotland.

Mr Wilson said official estimates suggest that Pounds 100 million could be invested in science and technology over the three years from various sources.

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