Friday, 16 November 2012

Alex Salmond says sorry to Parliament over error in college funding figures

THE First Minister had earlier claimed that budgets for colleges increased in 2012-13, when they had actually been reduced by almost ?10m.

ALEX SALMOND was today forced to apologise to Parliament after a row erupted over college funding.

Earlier today the First Minister had insisted that the budget for colleges had not been cut, despite Labour saying it had.

But he returned to Holyrood later to concede that he had used an "incorrect" figure and that the amount of cash colleges will receive for day-to-day spending has fallen by more than ?9 million.

His apology comes after the Scottish Government revealed it had only recently sought specific advice from law officers on an independent Scotland's entry in the European Union.

Labour leader Johann Lamont claimed Mr Salmond's statement was "astonishing" as she blasted: "The contempt that Alex Salmond shows every day for the Scottish people and our Parliament is breathtaking."

Ms Lamont added: "After the European debacle, after this, how can we ever believe a word Alex Salmond says again?"

Mr Salmond had earlier told MSPs that resource funding for colleges was ?545 million in 2011-12 and ?546 million in 2012-13.

However, he explained the figure of ?545 million for last year did not take into account changes to the budget and should have been ?555.7 million.

The First Minister said: "Let me make clear I take full responsibility for what I say in this chamber, therefore I have taken this earliest opportunity to correct the figure.

"The figure should have been ?556 million, not ?545 million, and I apologise to the chamber for this error."


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