To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what research he has commissioned or evaluated into possible over provision of further education in Scotland; and what assessment he has made of the optimum number of further education colleges in Scotland. 
No specific research has been commissioned on the level of provision of further education in Scotland but colleges' annual development plans and other student numbers and costs information are analysed. This shows that colleges increased student activity by 6 per cent. in 1994–95 and achieved 4 per cent. efficiency gains. Cost information does not suggest that there is an optimum number of colleges in Scotland.