Funding for higher education has continued to fall under Nicola Sturgeon, despite promises that education would be the driving and defining priority of her government.

A briefing produced by the impartial experts at the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) this week shows that revenue funding for higher education institutions is now £11 million less in real terms than it was when the SNP came to power in 2007, and has continued to fall since Nicola Sturgeon became First Minister.

This research follows a summer report from Audit Scotland which shows that higher education has faced a 6% cut in real terms since 2010. The Audit Scotland report says that funding will continue to fall under Nicola Sturgeon, saying “Overall funding for universities has reduced in recent years, and will continue to do so through 2016/17.”

This week, the convener of Universities Scotland, Andrea Nolan, told the Scottish Parliament Education Committee that the sector cannot go on with the current levels of underfunding.

Labour will continue to make the case that the education budget should be protected by using the tax powers of the Scottish Parliament.

Scottish Labour Education spokesperson Iain Gray MSP said:

“Time and again the SNP tell us that education is their top priority, only for the reality of their record to tell us the opposite.

Scotland’s universities should be the envy of the world and the engines of long term growth in our economy but they have faced cuts ever since the SNP came to power.

Nicola Surgeon has a brass neck to claim that education is her top priority whilst presiding over cuts to universities, colleges and schools.

Labour would protect the education budget and the funding for our universities using the new tax powers of our Scottish Parliament and will continue to make that case.

The SNP face a choice, they can work with Labour to stop the cuts and invest in education, or they can collude with the Tories and carry on the cuts.”