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Gavin challenges Chancellor on cuts to nurses' bursaries

Gavin Newlands, the MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, challenged the Chancellor of the Exchequer over the UK Government’s £826 million worth of cuts to bursaries for nurses today in the House of Commons.

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced the swingeing cuts to the support for nurses in his Autumn Statement. The UK Government intends to cut bursaries and replace the vital support with loans – saddling nurses with debt and deterring a future generation of nurses for pursuing a career of caring.

The UK Government’s controversial decision is in stark contrast to the Scottish Government’s approach to funding student nurses. In Scotland, the system for funding nurses is more generous, it is not repayable and, of course, there are no tuition fees.

During Prime Ministers Questions, where George Osborne stood in for David Cameron, the Renfrewshire MP said:

“During the Autumn Statement the Chancellor casually removed vital government support from student nurses. Since then I have spoken with a number nurses and some of the 4,000 nursing students at my local university, and all have said that they wouldn’t have been able to study without this vital support from the Scottish Government. What will he say to those aspiring nurses across the rest of the UK who may now be prevented from pursuing their dream of becoming a nurse?”

Speaking after Prime Minister’s Questions, Gavin Newlands MP said:

“Whilst the Scottish Government supports our student nurses and safeguards another generation of nurses in Scotland, the UK Government pulls the rug from under their feet and tells them that they will no longer receive vital bursary support – it really is a tale of two governments.

“My local university, the University of the West of Scotland, has more than 4,000 student nurses who all have a desire to pursue a career in nursing.

“Thankfully, the Scottish Government continues to support our student nurses – the attitude of the Tories is nothing more than an insult to the outstanding and unwavering work that our nurses do.”

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