Speaking after acquiring a letter from Fife Council to schools notifying them that the council intends to seize 17% of the special funding meant to help the poorest pupils, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats Willie Rennie said:
“This is outrageous. The Pupil Equity Fund is there to support children from less well-off families. This is an outrageous cash grab from the poorest pupils.
“The evidence is that children from less well-off backgrounds have suffered the most during the lockdown. These young people should be getting extra help with new catch-up funding. Instead they are having their money grabbed from them.
“The money is meant to follow the child but instead it is following the road to the council HQ.
"I worked hard for years to persuade the government to introduce the Pupil Equity Fund. It's heartbreaking to find that so much of it is being taken away at the time it's needed most. The Scottish Government needs to get its funding for councils sorted and protect these catch-up funds that are meant to help pupils.
“Scottish ministers have taken an age to pass on Barnett consequentials to councils. Even now they are still holding back distribution of money.
“It’s not good enough. We should be helping pupils after a tough lockdown, not taxing them.”
“Fife Council and the Scottish Government need to rethink their plans.”