Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie MSP, local by-election candidate Alison Auld and North East MSP Mike Rumbles this weekend warned that the SNP are letting down children in the North East as figures revealed that schools in Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray had 173 teacher vacancies the week before the new school year began in August.
Freedom of Information requests from Lib Dems have shown that as pupils prepared to return to school, there were 86 FTE teaching vacancies in Aberdeen City. Aberdeenshire were advertising 43 posts and Moray was 44 teachers short.
Speaking ahead of a visit to Inverurie to campaign with local council by-election candidate Alison Auld (Sat 24th), Mr Rennie said that these shortages are the legacy of years of underinvestment by the Scottish Government. He also warned that plans for a council tax grab by the Scottish Government that could see Aberdeenshire lose £30m will not help boost local schools.
Commenting, Mr Rennie said: “Thousands of children across the North East started the school year without a permanent teacher in place. It is no wonder that schools are failing to hit class size targets when schools cannot recruit the staff that they need.
“The North East has historically been short-changed by the Scottish Government, with local authority grants falling beneath the SNP’s own funding floor year on year. These shortages are the legacy of years of underinvestment and we know that there are further SNP cuts to come.
“The SNP’s £30m council tax grab will pile even more pressure on local budgets. Taking this money out of Aberdeenshire will not help recruit a single additional teacher. The hard fact is that children are being let down by the Scottish Government. People in Inverurie deserve councillors who will stand up for them. That is what Alison Auld would do for her constituents.”
Inverurie by-election candidate Alison Auld added: “People in Inverurie have been promised the earth by the SNP but when it comes to the crunch, we have been let down again and again. The SNP’s £30m council tax grab is the last thing that we need if we are to protect services such as our schools.”
Mr Rumbles also added: “This smash and grab by the Scottish Government is nothing new, they have been syphoning funding from Aberdeenshire and the city for years.
“We now have two of the most poorly financed local authorities in the whole of Scotland. That means less money for schools, roads and local services at a time when our the North East economy is at its most vulnerable.”