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Cumbernauld politicians react to merged college's name

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 22:53 GMT on Thursday, May 30th, 2013.

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Politicians blame the Scottish Government for the merger and non-Cumbernauld related name. Picture is copyright of Scott Campbell/ Cumbernauld Media.

TWO local politicians have hammered the Scottish Government for their handling of the merger between Cumbernauld and Motherwell Colleges; which will see the new institution take on students from August, under the new title of New College Lanarkshire. 

The announcement was made earlier this week, and so far, the community and SNP MSP for Cumbernauld and Kilsyth, Jamie Hepburn, have said that the new institution’s name will isolate those in Cumbernauld – who feel resentment towards being likened to Lanarkshire. 

Since MSP Hepburn’s comments, Mark Griffin, Labour MSP for Central Scotland, Gregg McClymont MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East and Stephen Leckie, Cumbernauld College Student Association Vice President, have all wade into the debate.

Kilsyth-based Central Scotland MSP Mark Griffin described the name as “…a massive step towards Lanarkshire infringing on Cumbernauld.”

He added: On the face of it, it may just be a name, but it shows how little consideration for Cumbernauld was taken. Names matter but students, courses and lecturers are the priority which is why I voted against this move.

“We are faced with this forced merger as a consequence of deep funding cuts to the college sector coming from the SNP Government.

"I voted against these cuts in Holyrood and I am calling on the Education Secretary to see sense, scrap this merger and actually fund Cumbernauld College properly so it can continue its excellent service to the local community. I hope SNP politicians will join me in this call. SNP politicians have continually argued that Cumbernauld should be removed from Lanarkshire, now their Government is forcing Cumbernauld deeper into Lanarkshire."

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Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East MP Gregg McClymont said that the decision was part of process of SNP cuts, which are being enacted to “dismantle our local services one by one”.

The town’s MP added: “The new name will certainly raise a few eyebrows but the main issue which is worrying people in Cumbernauld and Kilsyth is the loss of our college’s independence.

“The merger is being rushed through ahead of next term as a direct result of the SNP’s college cuts programme.

“First our x-ray services went to Monklands, our court service is going to Coatbridge and now our college will be taken over by Motherwell.

“Even if the name was more sensitive to the wishes of local people it wouldn’t hide the fact that under the SNP Government Cumbernauld and Kilsyth are losing public services to other towns in Lanarkshire.”

Stephen Leckie, Vice President of the Student Association added that the name “may only seem like a minor issue”, he would have “liked” further “student involvement”

Stephen added: “The new name of the college may only seem like a minor issue but it is important and I would have liked student involvement in this to have been more widespread; if so we may not have ended up with the name we have.

“This forced merger, as a consequence of Government cuts, will hit Cumbernauld hard. It is the cuts that will make it more difficult for students to get access to their classes, which will cost jobs and reduce course options. The Education Secretary should reverse this forced merger and actually support college students.”

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