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About this blog (new readers start here)

This blog started off with the intention of being about public policy in Scotland, with no one specific focus.

The idea was to post occasional pieces of research and analysis, drawn from primary sources, with a focus on issues which raise interesting or important questions and which weren’t receiving much attention. I also planned to use this blog to record reactions and responses, because I am interested in how public policy is debated and discussed in Scotland.

In practice, it has become a blog entirely about student support and, in particular, the impact of the declining use of student grants in Scotland. Although this issue has had some media attention since this blog began in early June 2013, it remains under-reported and under-discussed, not least compared to the issue of tuition fees.  At some point, when student grants and inequalities in the sharing of student debt become as a common-place and familiar an aspect of Scottish political debate as tuition fees, other topics may appear on here.  I am not sure that is likely to happen anytime soon, however.  A bit more about the background to my interest in these issues here.

For those new to this, there is a short summary of the grant cuts and the issues they raise here:

Another short piece looking in more detail at the distribution of student debt is here:

This longer ESRC-funded report is the most comprehensive piece, which includes UK comparisons and looks at the (re)distributional effect of policy in Scotland over time:

For those interested specifically in the detailed construction of the student loan scheme, this piece summarises the issues:

The posts gathered here consider how we debate the issues:


About me: I have 20 years’ experience of working in public policy in local and central government,  mostly in Scotland, with the last half of this spent as a senior civil servant in what is now the Scottish Government.  I decided to leave the civil service several years ago and now mainly work free-lance.


Lucy Hunter Blackburn

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