23 January 2020

Nicola Sturgeon has “dumped the promise” to “Dump the Debt Monster” and is “letting students down”, Richard Leonard said at First Minister’s Questions today.

The Scottish Labour leader highlighted figures from Audit Scotland which showed this week that student debt has soared to £5.5 billion - more than double what it was in 2011.

He said:

“We know that it is students from the poorest families who are forced to borrow the most.

"First Minister, will you simply admit that the SNP misled students and will you apologise?”

Highlighting the wider context of cuts to budgets, which Universities Scotland says means university funding has been “deprioritised” by the Scottish Government, Mr Leonard asked:

“First Minister, when the budget comes to Parliament next month, will you reprioritise Scotland’s universities?

“Will you reprioritise Scotland’s students? " Or will you dump more cuts on our universities, and dump more debt on our students?”

Mr Leonard asked Nicola Sturgeon why she had failed to implement a Minimum Student Income based on the living wage, which was the recommendation of a government-commissioned report two years ago.

“But two years on and nothing has happened,” Mr Leonard said. “You are letting students down.

“How many generations of Scottish students have to go through university before this Government keeps any promise on support for student living?”

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