>> 30 September 2009

Reacting scornfully to remarks made by Mike Rumbles MSP blaming the SNP Government for the state of Scotland’s schools in the media, Mearns councillor and SNP Group Education Spokesperson, Councillor Jean Dick said:

“What Mike Rumbles really ought to be doing is apologising for the state to which the fabric of Aberdeenshire’s schools has been allowed to descend during the eight years in which his Party shared power at Holyrood with New Labour. The lack-lustre Liberal Democrats have now been reduced to whining in the sidelines as the SNP Government forges ahead with a raft of improvements for schools throughout Scotland – including new academies for both Ellon and The Mearns.

“Given the lack of progress on this issue under the previous Labour/Liberal Democrat administration in the Scottish Parliament - and thirteen years of successive Lib Democrat-led administrations in Aberdeenshire Council – I am astounded that Mike Rumbles should have the hypocrisy to blame the SNP Government for the deplorable condition of our school buildings.

“The report clearly indicates a consistent track record of neglect under Lib Dem leadership at both local and national level; it simply defies logic that 29% of our secondary schools could have deteriorated to their current poor condition in just 28 months of SNP government. That is clearly evidenced by a report which came before the Policy & Resources Committee of 17 th September containing the statement 'The Council has been unable to provide adequate investment in the maintenance of its properties and has only recently agreed to take steps to address a significant maintenance backlog…..'"

SNP Council Group Finance Spokesman, Cllr. Fergus Hood added:

"To add insult to injury, it was the SNP Council Group which insisted that an additional £200,000 should be allocated to the schools repair fund as a condition of supporting the administration’s budget proposals earlier this year!"

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