Murdo has said there could be several major cuts made by Perth and Kinross Council to local education services brought about by a lack of budget money provided by the SNP Government.
He recently told fellow members at Holyrood that the local authority may be forced to introduce swingeing cuts, including the loss of breakfast clubs for underprivileged children and school crossing patrollers, as well as a reduction in teacher numbers as a result of financial constraints imposed by the SNP.
In a Portfolio Question on Education and Skills, Murdo highlighted how the Accounts Commission had issued a report which came with a warning that many local authorities have used reserves to bridge funding gaps and fund vital services. William Moyes, the chair of the Accounts Commission, said that some council services may have to be either reduced or cut, and stated that people will “undoubtedly” notice that their local services are under pressure.
Commenting, Murdo Fraser MSP said: “Despite the largest block grant to the Scottish Government from Westminster in the history of devolution, the SNP Government’s budget means real terms cuts to local education budgets in terms of funding. The Accounts Commission make this very clear in their report this morning. In Perth and Kinross, the local authority is facing a £20 million budget deficit for the coming year.
“This could see teacher numbers cut, psychology services cut, all school crossing patrollers scrapped, and breakfast clubs for under privileged children scrapped. I therefore asked the Cabinet Secretary for Education, Shirley-Anne Sommerville, how she can defend a budget settlement which could lead an SNP-run Council like Perth and Kinross to take decisions like this. However, I was very disappointed at her answer, which seemed to say that local authorities are actually getting more money from the SNP Government when both the Accounts Commission and Perth and Kinross Council say the opposite is happening.”
Murdo continued: “If these cuts do take place, the SNP-run Council in Perth and Kinross will have some serious questions to answer, as the loss of the likes of breakfast clubs for under privileged children and also the loss of school crossing patrollers will be a bitter blow to many children and their parents – they deserve a lot better than this.”