Bearsden Councillor says education underspend ‘doesn’t add up’

A BEARSDEN councillor has slammed East Dunbartonshire Council for failing to spend its budget for education in 2011/2012.

Councillor Keith Small for Bearsden North, the SNP group’s education spokesperson, demanded answers about how this has happened at a recent full council meeting.

He said: “The overall underspend was £3.849 million.

“Much of this was as a result of delay in filling teaching posts and a slow down in delivery of childcare initiatives.

“An underspend of £1.888 million on teachers’ payroll was reported.

“When do savings become cuts? I appreciate that all departments must consider making savings where possible.

“However, I am concerned that teaching posts must be filled as soon as possible, especially in the area of special educational needs.

“A freeze on vacancies in this area resulted in an underspend of £141,000. A slow down in delivery of childcare initiatives led to an underspend of £114.000.”

He claims that there was also a delay in filling non-teaching posts - with an underspend of £340,000 in early years, secondary schools and support for learning assistants.

He added: “The responsibility for this underspend for education rests with the previous Labour/Tory administration. We must ensure that the allocated budget is properly spent and vacancies are filled as soon as possible.

“This is very important for the education of our young people and also to provide jobs for both probationary and qualified teachers.”