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#VoteNo spurs questions over university funding

Posted by Hannah Walker in

With Scotland remaining a part of the UK after the results of September 18th, academics have voiced concern over the future of higher education in terms of funding. Prior to the referendum, unionist parties assured institutions that the "Barnett formula" would continue - securing them with a certain amount of funding. However, since the vote has been cast, Prime Minister David Cameron has not yet reiterated this with any assurance. Academics believe there is now significant uncertainty as to what the next move will be, particularly as a devolved Scotland begins to rebuild its relationship again with the rest of the UK. Hugh Pennington, a professor at the University of Aberdeen who campaigned for a "no" vote, stated that research funding for institutions in Scotland is imperative and must be examined seriously. He further stated that, "we want to keep a close eye on negotiations that are now taking place between unionist parties on how they move forward on devolution to make sure they don't have any impact on higher education funding."

English Literature professor, Murray Pittock at the University of Glasgow, suggested that if the Barnett Formula did come under serious threat, Scotland obtaining extra tax-powers would still not be beneficial to higher education institutions: "the risk may be that the Barnett formula is on borrowed time [and] if it disappeared, the consequences would be serious because [devolving extra tax-raising powers] would not address the loss that Scotland would face."

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