ATTN NEWSDESKS/POLITICAL REPORTERS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SALMOND CHALLENGE TO DAVIDSON ON TORY EDUCATION CUTS IN ABERDEENSHIRE

SNP candidate for Gordon has challenged Scots Tory leader to instruct her Aberdeenshire Councillors to abandon plans to cut the Council's education service.

Mr Salmond has seized the opportunity of Ms Davidson’s visit to Gordon constituency to put her on the spot on the issue of potential education cuts which is dominating the final stages of the campaign in Gordon.

In an email to Ms Davidson, Mr Salmond said:

"Dear Ruth,

Welcome back to Gordon. I hope you might spend a few minutes sorting out the serious concerns your Councillors’ actions are causing in Aberdeenshire schools.

In February of this year, at the Budget meeting of Aberdeenshire Council, your Councilors proposed to cut £3.2 million from the education budget.

That would have caused serious issues for music tuition, the pupil support assistant budget and special education.

These are all services which are vital in rural schools.

Luckily at that stage the SNP and other Councillors voted down the damaging Tory proposal.

However, since your Councillors recently formed an administration with the Liberal Democrats they have returned to their cuts agenda.

Your Group Leader Cllr. Jim Gifford has announced in a radio interview that he is considering the future of rural schools, has defended education budget cuts in an interview with the Evening Express and, over the last few days, specialist teachers have received notice that their services may not be required for next term.

I have attached the appropriate references which demonstrate that this grave issue is based on the statements of your own councillors.

My opponent in this election is an Aberdeenshire Councillor so perhaps you could pass through him an instruction to remove the threat to rural schools and the education service.

As you will know, in the part of this constituency within Aberdeen City your councillors have caused consternation by supporting the surviving rump of the discredited past Labour administration in clinging onto office.

However, this issue in Aberdeenshire is even more important, affecting as it does the quality of education n of children in rural schools.

Once more, please instruct your councillors accordingly.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours for Scotland,

Alex Salmond"

 

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For Reference

 

During the BBC bulletin, broadcast on May 19, Tory Leader Jim Gifford said:

 

"I think there is a big discussion to be had. If you mapped where everyone lives in Aberdeenshire and mapped where the schools are they are not in the right places and that comes at huge cost.

 

"We need to have a big grown up discussion about whether schools are in the right place, the right kind of school, the right size of school. [schools] built 150 years ago and trying to deliver a modern curriculum - it is sometimes a challenge"

 

Gifford's comments: https://soundcloud.com/bbcnortheast/aberdeen-0730-19-05-17

 

Gifford's comments in the Evening Express: 

 

https://www.eveningexpress.co.uk/fp/news/local/aberdeenshire-council-chief-hails-authority-getting-job-done-without-political-spats/

 

"But the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in their former Alliance partnership earlier this year proposed to slash the education budget by £3 million, including reducing music tuition, the pupil support assistant budget and cutting £500,000 from special education.

 

He said: “That was our starting point and there are lots of different ways you could look at it.

 

“We had a huge list of proposed savings that were going to have to be made and we thought we could live with them.

 

“None of them were easy but there are choices to be made and education has to be looked at in the round.

 

“It’s way over half the budget of the council, to say education is going to be protected, immediately I would say it will have to come from somewhere else and that’s not possible or feasible.”