Declaring that councils plan to spend 8 per cent more this financial year than last, the Deputy Minister for Children and Education, said. "These figures quash any notion that education funding is in decline."
Since the figures were based on estimated budgets and "invariably the actual out-turn spending exceeds the estimates", the volume of spending would rise even further. The increase partly reflected local authority commitments based on the Excellence Funds and the Government's pledge of a part-time nursery place for every four-year-old, Mr Peacock said.
Figures published this week by the Executive in response to a parliamentary question show that budget estimates for all authorities in 1996-97 totalled pound;2.5 billion compared with pound;2.7bn this year.
Every authority shows a rise compared with 1998-99. In Glasgow, the largest council, the estimate is up from pound;294 million to pound;303m and in Orkney, the smallest, from pound;15.5m to pound;17m.