Elaine Smith (Coatbridge and Chryston) (Lab): Many of my constituents go to local colleges in order to access higher education institutions such as Glasgow Caledonian University, where a rally against cuts was held yesterday. Does the cabinet secretary believe that it is a good use of education funding for GCU bosses to spend over £1 million on a campus in London while planning major cuts to funding in Scotland, meaning further job losses and a poorer standard of education?
John Swinney: Obviously, individual institutions, of which Glasgow Caledonian is one, must take decisions about the appropriate use of their resources. Our further and higher education institutions are involved in activities to encourage students from other parts of the United Kingdom and other countries to come to study in Scotland because it is an important revenue source to many of them. Although such decisions are best taken by the institutions, all of us who depend on public finance must take careful and prudent decisions to ensure that we maximise the effectiveness of public expenditure in an increasingly tight financial environment.
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