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'Splendid news' for schools

Brian Wilson, the Education MInister, greeted as "splendid news" the Budget announcement of an extra Pounds 125 million for education in Scotland over the next two years. This is part of a Pounds 1 billion UK investment to be paid for from the Government's financial reserves, unveiled by the Chancellor on Wednesday.

The money will consist of an Pounds 8.9 million capital allocation this year and Pounds 26.7 million in 1998-99 to improve school buildings and upgrade information technology. A further Pounds 89 million in revenue spending will also be made available next year targeted on the early years, classroom resources and efforts to raise standards.

The Chancellor said his measures should improve schools' performance both in results and discipline, ensuring they met targets and demonstrating that they gave value for money.

Mr Wilson said he was "particularly pleased that it will be possible to make a serious assault on the huge backlog of work required on the fabric of Scotland's schools". The Scottish Office estimates this will cost Pounds 200 million alone.

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