Donald Dewar, the Scottish Secretary, has strengthened the Government attack on basic skills in primary by injecting pound;36 million more into early intervention. From April 1999 he is doubling the Scottish Office contribution from pound;7 million a year to pound;14 million.
Over the full five year period up to the next election in 2002, an extra pound;56 million will have gone into infant education.
The Scottish Secretary made the announcement during a visit to Pirniehall primary, Edinburgh, one of the four schools involved in the city's pioneering early reading initiative.
The extra cash will allow schools to add numeracy to literacy work, offer support for home-school links and increase the number of classroom assistants.
Schools underperforming in literacy and numeracy and areas with social exclusion problems will be targeted.
The extra cash will sit alongside a package of pound;30 million for childcare and pound;23 million for out of school activities which will go to one in four primaries.