Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson has welcomed plans in the Scottish Government’s draft budget to increase spending on colleges by £18.3million over the coming year.

The budget will also provide up to £22.7million in capital funding to complete construction of Forth Valley College’s new campus in Falkirk.

The spending plans, set out in the Scottish Government’s draft budget for 2019-20, will see the resource budget for the country’s colleges increase to £606.5million – a 1.3% rise in real terms.

MSPs will vote on the budget next month and Mr Matheson has called on opposition politicians in Central Scotland to back the plans to invest more in further education.

He said: “I’m delighted that Forth Valley College is set to benefit hugely from the Finance Secretary’s budget proposals – and there’s good news for students across Scotland, with spending on colleges set to rise to more than £600million and funding for universities being maintained at more than £1billion.

“I am calling on local politicians from across the chamber to get behind these plans to secure substantial investment in colleges and universities throughout Central Scotland and beyond.”