Scottish Government Response

As reported in the Herald and Scottish Legal News, the Scottish Government issued a short press statement in response to the media coverage of our letter to the Cabinet Secretary.

The version published in Scottish Legal News is slightly longer, so appears to be the full statement:

Scottish Government Logo

As part of the Scottish Government’s improvements to post-graduate support, an extra 2,300 students, including those sitting a diploma in professional legal practice, will be eligible for loan support of up to £3,400 towards the cost of their tuition fees.

Previously only 2,700 students a year had been eligible for funding under the postgraduate student allowances scheme. This means that thousands more of the very best students have fair access an additional stage of academia, based on ability to learn, not ability to pay.

Clearly, this statement is a disappointing response to our letter to the Cabinet Secretary.  It merely repeats the  argument that the current arrangements already represent ‘fair access’ based on ‘ability to learn, not ability to pay’.  There is no attempt to address our argument, made in the letter, that the PTFL is wasteful and ineffective in terms of widening access.

There also seems no change in the government’s lack of recognition of any distinction between the DPLP and other postgraduate courses that are not prerequisites for  entry into specific professions.  Instead, the statement lumps the DPLP together with other postgraduate courses and discusses them as ‘an additional stage of academia’, something the DPLP is clearly not.

This response is only a brief statement produced at short notice to maintain the current government position.  It is hoped that the formal government response, when it comes, more carefully engages with our arguments.

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