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Safety net stays in place for worst hit budgets

THE four colleges that will have their funding reduced next session are Shetland (by 15.3 per cent), Lews Castle in Stornoway (5.1 per cent), Langside in Glasgow (3.4 per cent) and Stevenson in Edinburgh (3.2 per cent).

But all four will continue to enjoy "transitional relief" which supports recovery plans aimed at bringing them into line with the rest of the sector. This means the colleges will continue to receive pound;2.2 million in additional support, which effectively involves taxing the rest of the sector to pay for it but at half this year's level.

Stevenson College, which will receive more than pound;1 million of this support, has already provoked strike action among staff who claim that redundancies are being sought to save up to pound;600,000, equivalent to 24 academic jobs.

The funding council has decided that other colleges - incuding Borders, Clydebank and Moray - should have transitional support removed. These three will receive less than 1 per cent of an increase.

At the other end of the spectrum, Dundee receives the largest increase, of 14.5 per cent, followed by Motherwell with 14.4 per cent, James Watt 13.7 per cent, North Glasgow 12.6 per cent, Glasgow College of Food Technology and Reid Kerr College in Paisley 12.5 per cent, and Ayr College 12.3 per cent.

College figures exclude the additional money given to three colleges that have expanded their operations into other areas - Falkirk runs a campus in Stirling, James Watt has an extension in Kilwinning and West Lothian will open a new base in Livingston this autumn.

If these "strategic allocations" are included, average increases for colleges rise from 6.9 per cent to 7.8 per cent.

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