A STUDENT union has welcomed a multi-million funding pledge, saying it will help the poorest students in Scotland.

Party leader Jim Murphy outlined plans to invest £58.1m into higher education bursaries as part of a broader package of funding for vocational, further, and higher education of £161.66m.

NUS Scotland welcomed "the strong commitments to tackling student poverty", and urged all parties to make similar commitments ahead of elections.

The union also called for parties to use the full range of powers available to Scotland to make investments in Scottish education and all public services, regardless of policy or funding decisions take elsewhere in the UK.

President Gordon Maloney, president of NUS Scotland, said: "This is great news and a very welcome marker for how Scottish Labour would improve the financial help offered to the poorest students in Scotland. NUS Scotland has long campaigned for, and achieved, big increases in student support but in the future we must see increases in bursaries for the poorest students. It's clear our work to bring student poverty up the political agenda is beginning to pay off, which is testament to the thousands of students who have campaigned on this issue over the last few years.

"Scottish Labour are absolutely right to want to use additional money received in Scotland from any reduction in fees in the rest of the UK, to fund better student support in Scotland. However, we must see additional investment regardless of the outcome of May's UK election, and regardless of whether we see £9,000 fees reduce in the rest of the UK. With the revenue raising powers available to the Scottish Parliament now and in the future, we want to see bold political action taken to ensure the necessary funding for student support and all our vital public services."