Finance secretary blamed for ‘horrific’ cuts to Scotland’s education budget

As reported by The Courier, Scotland’s finance secretary is being blamed by MSPs and parents for ‘horrific’ cuts to the education budget

Parents have hit out at Scotland’s finance secretary, Derek Mackay, due to the ‘horrific’ cuts he has made to education in a draft of the Budget.

£4m was drained out of education this year, allegedly due to Mackay’s cash settlement for local authorities.

Labour’s Alex Rowley has said that further reductions from April onwards with exacerbate the issue.

Mackay claims that the overall financial package for councils has, in fact, increased, and that it’s up to those leading the individual councils to decide where the budget goes and how they it be protected.

Under the 2019-20 settlement, local council revenue is shrinking by £43m in Tayside and Fife while council spending is increasing by £18m.

Rowley said parents are “rightly angry” over the huge financial hit to frontline education.

“This current financial year there is something like £4m being cut out of the education budget,” he said.

“Secondary schools across Fife are having to take a cut of around £2m of that, and as a result of that, councils are campaigning together because the impact that cut is having on frontline learning and teaching is horrific.”

Mackay said he rejects the argument that protected funding for Scottish government priorities should not be considered part of the core budget of councils.

“If I am forced to discount resources in the settlement for a purpose, then by definition there is less money,” he said.

“But, in reality, there is more money in cash terms and in real terms.”

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