Three-year McCrone deal

Ministers were yesterday set to dispel any doubts about Scottish Executive commitment to the McCrone package by agreeing to pump in the additional cash over the next three financial years.

Teachers' pay rises have so far swallowed the bulk of the cash. Unions and local authorities will be forced to open pay talks again in 2004 following the initial three-year pay agreement that will lift teachers' salaries by 23.1 per cent.

In the comprehensive spending review covering the three years up to 2006, Andy Kerr, Finance Minister, said that McCrone takes precedence, followed by the building or major refurbishment of 300 schools. The minister has signalled that this will be done by 2009 and will benefit around 80,000 pupils.

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