Finance Secretary Kate Forbes was asked three times to use the Scottish Government’s underspend to provide schools with additional resources – and three times declined to answer.

After Ms Forbes delivered the 2019-20 Provisional Budget Outturn Statement, Scottish Labour finance spokesperson Jackie Baillie pressed her on the underspend. Ms Forbes also dismissed further questions on the subject from Scottish Labour local government spokesperson Sarah Boyack and West Scotland MSP Neil Bibby.

Scottish Labour finance spokesperson Jackie Baillie said: “Given the underspend is £258 million, which is carried forward to this financial year, and Nicola Sturgeon has promised schools will get all the resources they need, the Scottish Government should put its money where its mouth is and allocate a portion of this money to fund the return to schools.

“It is unacceptable for the Finance Secretary to refuse to address this constructive suggestion when it was raised three times by Labour MSPs. Kate Forbes’s triple dodge can’t hide the fact that Scotland is now facing a triple crisis of public health, education and the economy.

“Once again we are seeing a total lack of joined-up thinking from the SNP government. Nicola Sturgeon claims to be on top of the crisis facing our education system, but her government is still in denial about the urgency of addressing it.”

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