Scottish Government ignores Borders schools in £1bn funding spree

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The Scottish Government has come under criticism from Borderers after it was revealed that no money will be allocated to Borders schools as part of its new investment programme.

The Scottish Government announced a package of funding which will see 26 schools across Scotland rebuilt or refurbished, however, despite pleas from Scottish Borders Council (SBC), no funding has been allocated to schools in the Borders.

The announcement coincided with the publication of the latest statistics on the condition of Scotland’s schools.

The figures from the school estate survey suggested that across Scotland, 88.3 per cent of schools were described as being in “good” or “satisfactory” condition in April 2019, while 11.4 per cent were classed as “poor” and 0.2 per cent were termed “bad”.

A total of 11 local authorities have been included in the upgrades, including Midlothian and East Lothian.

Borders-based MSP, Michelle Ballantyne, and the head of SBC, Shona Haslam, expressed their disappointment that Borders schools have been ignored in the recent funding announcement and have called on the SNP Government to ensure funding for local schools in future announcements.

Michelle Ballantyne MSP said: “It’s disheartening that the SNP Government have ignored Borders schools when announcing this funding. Especially after cuts to the SBC’s funding this money would have gone a long way to ensuring our children receive the quality of education they deserve.

“I hope the SNP will reconsider when announcing future infrastructure spending in schools. Other local authorities have been given funding for multiple buildings whilst our children in the Borders have received nothing.”

Councillor Shona Haslam added: “I am really disappointed to see that none of this funding has been allocated to Scottish Borders, we have many schools in urgent need of renewal.

“I would love to know how the decision making process was made and what discussions have taken place with those who have been lucky enough to secure funding. There was certainly concerns raised at a recent Cosla meeting in this regard.”