LibDem leader Alex Cole-Hamilton, Nicola Sturgeon and local SNP politicians Martin Docherty-Hughes and Brendan O’Hara.
By Bill Heaney
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton will use his speech to the UK Liberal Democrat autumn conference in Brighton on Sunday to accuse the Scottish Government of cutting the pupil premium by more than £200 and call for the cut to be addressed in the forthcoming Scottish budget.
Alex is expected to refer to the “shock resignation” of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
He will add: ““Humza Yousaf won the bitter contest to succeed her. He enjoyed a honeymoon period of less than a week. And then came the arrests.
“I cannot speak to an active police inquiry, but it’s fair to say the impact of these revelations has been transcendent. Everybody’s talking about them.
“It is said that when you are elected President of the United States you are immediately told the secrets of Area 51 and the crashed UFOs.
“Whereas if you become the leader of the SNP you are immediately told the secrets of a disused £100,000 camper van parked in a Dunfermline driveway.
“Whilst this is steeped in both intrigue and schadenfreude, it’s actually the last thing the people of Scotland need right now.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s reputation is now being debated like never before, but she once declared that she wanted to be judged on her record on education.
“It took six years to persuade the nationalists to adopt the pupil premium introduced by Liberal Democrats in England and Wales.
“Now we have new evidence of how the Scottish Government have let that slide.
“New analysis I’m publishing today shows how the value of the pupil premium has been eroded by more than £200 in real terms for every single Scottish child from a poorer background.
“That’s money that could have been spent on breakfast clubs; on dedicated teachers and support staff; on activities that inspire and capture the imagination.
“It is a £200 stealth cut. They are pulling up the ladder from the poorest children in Scotland. Shame on them.
“If the SNP won’t address it in the coming budget negotiations, then they should get out the way for someone who will.”
Value of Pupil Equity Funding per eligible pupil in 2017/18 – £1,200
Value of Pupil Equity Funding per eligible pupil in 2023/24 – £1,225
£1,200 in 2017/18 would be worth £1,445 in today’s prices – a real-terms cut of £220
Source: HMT’s GDP deflator
Top picture: West College at Clydebank from the Titan crane. Picture by Bill Heaney