Critics line up for a shot

11th July 1997 at 01:00
The Government's political opponents took the opportunity of the first Scottish Grand Committee meeting of MPs since the election to detect sleight of hand in the Budget calculations.

The SNP says the extra Pounds 89 million for education amounts to Pounds 1 per week per pupil. John Swinney, the SNP's Treasury spokesman, says an underestimate of the rate of inflation implies that Pounds 19 million less will go towards educational revenue expenditure next year, despite the Chancellor's millions. The new money was welcome but it alleviated the position rather than improved on it.

The Liberal Democrats took the same view. Jim Wallace, the party's leader in Scotland, predicted that education would still face a funding crisis. "There is little new money for education this year, so what are ministers going to say when teachers are sacked and the quality of books and equipment continues to get worse?" Mr Wallace asked. "Next year's additional resources will stave off the worst effects of the cuts but don't begin to address the need for new investment."

The Educational Institute of Scotland said 1,000 full-time teaching posts have been lost in a year.

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