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Scotland - Rivals claim SNP figures don't 'stack up'

Claims by the Scottish National Party that education spending is "soaring" under its administration have provoked protests and highlighted animosity between the Government and Glasgow, the largest education authority.

Ken Cunningham, leader of Scotland's secondary headteachers, demanded a "serious investigation" into the apparent discrepancy between SNP funding commitments and schools' experience of budget cuts. He said the figures did not "stack up".

John Stodter, general secretary of the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland, said that while there was more to spend, everything cost a lot more. He cited salary and national insurance costs, fuel bills and the need to fund policies such as free school meals for all Primary 1- 3 pupils.

Kenny Gibson, SNP deputy convener of the education committee, said provisional local authority budget figures showed it was "undeniable that education spending in Scotland has increased under the SNP Government" and that SNP councils were "leading the way, with average increases of over 10 per cent".

A spokeswoman for the party contrasted SNP councils' education budgets with Labour-led Glasgow's, which she claimed was being cut by Pounds 7 million next year.

But Jonathan Findlay, Glasgow's executive member for education, said the provisional budget figures were no longer accurate and the SNP had ignored the government statisticians' caveats.

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