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MPs criticise graduate endowment
Thursday, 08 November 2007
MPs from Scotland's three main opposition parties have come together to criticise the way that civil servants presented evidence for the SNP's commitment to scrapping the graduate endowment.
Labour, Tory and Liberal Democrat members of the Education, lifelong learning and culture committee claimed that senior officials had admitted that there was no evidence to justify the policy and accused officials behind the bill of failing to consider key questions regarding the number of students that would be affected.
They also criticised an apology made to the committee by Alex Young, an official from the lifelong learning directorate of the Scottish government, who they claimed had given a false impression about the extent to which alternatives to the proposed scheme had been considered.
The bill is intended to put an end to the £2,289 charge that Scots pay when they study in the UK. Abolishment of the payment was one of the SNP's main election pledges, along with the scrapping of student debt repayments.
Fiona Hyslop, cabinet secretary for education and lifelong learning, said that she was "extremely disappointed" committee members had come out in public criticism of civil servants, claiming that opposition parties were playing politics with a policy that enjoys "overwhelming support" throughout Scotland.
It is estimated that 50,000 students will benefit from the move.