THE Scottish Government has been accused of “short-changing East Lothian’s young people”, with an MSP claiming recent figures show that the county’s education spending is the lowest per head in Scotland.

Figures from the last year showed that education spending in East Lothian was £622 lower per head for primary school pupils and £840 lower per head for secondary school pupils compared with elsewhere in the country.

Pre-school education spending in East Lothian was also the fourth lowest in Scotland.

Craig Hoy, South Scotland MSP, described the figures as “absolutely outrageous”.

He said: “It is absolutely outrageous that education spending in East Lothian is significantly lower than the rest of Scotland, when we have more children living in poverty here than the national average.

“How can it be fair for a pre-schooler in Morningside to have over £2,500 more spent on them compared to one living in Macmerry?

East Lothian Courier: The Scottish Parliament. Copyright Ian Cunliffe and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.The Scottish Parliament. Copyright Ian Cunliffe and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

“I believe that every child in Scotland must be given the same opportunities to achieve in school and go on to future success.

“This should never be determined by what postcode you live in, or your family background.

“The SNP Scottish Government should hang their heads in shame for short-changing East Lothian’s young people, and disadvantaging children from deprived areas in East Lothian most.

“I will do everything that I can to ensure the Scottish Government provides adequate funding to East Lothian Council, and

that East Lothian Council spends that money on our schoolchildren.

“No East Lothian child should be left behind because of decisions taken by politicians at Holyrood, but sadly that seems to be the case.”

Mr Hoy, who is a Haddington and Lammermuir ward member on East Lothian Council, has written to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills of Scotland about the issue.

The figures come despite almost a quarter of East Lothian’s children living in child poverty during 2019/20.

However, a spokesperson for the Scottish Government claimed that there had been an increase in funding.

They said: “In 2022-23, East Lothian Council will receive £213.3 million from the Scottish Government to fund local services.

“That’s a 10 per cent increase compared to 2021/22 and an extra £19.4 million to support vital day-to-day services, including education.

“It is the responsibility of individual local authorities to manage their own budgets and to allocate this funding.”