SCOTTISH Labour have accused the SNP of failing to “to protect Scotland’s schools” from £400 million worth of Tory cuts.

They said analysis carried out by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) showed that spending on schools has been cut by 7.5% in real terms since 2010, with local authority education spending falling to £4.9 billion in 2017-18 compared to £5.3bn in 2009-10.

Labour said the figures for last year included the Government’s Pupil Equity Funding, which isn’t supposed to be used to replace existing provision.

The party's shadow education secretary Iain Gray said: “Education is what empowers us all to realise our full potential. When it fails, it isn’t just the individual that is held back, but all of us. Protecting education spending should have been a priority for the SNP when the Tories came to power – instead there has been more than £400million worth of cuts since 2010.

“No wonder we are seeing soaring class sizes, overworked teachers and a stubborn attainment gap between the richest and poorest pupils. No amount of sloganeering from the nationalists can hide the fact that they have not stood up for Scotland’s schools.

“Labour would take a different path, making the richest pay their fair share so we can invest in our schools and deliver a better deal for teachers, parents and pupils.”

A Scottish Government spokesman defended their record: “The most recent provisional outturn results show that once again the Scottish Government has prudently and competently managed Scotland’s finances, despite a backdrop of uncertainty around Brexit and the UK Government’s continued austerity measures, with overall funding to councils increasing in real terms.

“We are committing £750 million during the course of this Parliament to tackle the poverty related attainment gap and ensure every child in Scotland has an equal chance to succeed – including another £120m Pupil Equity Funding direct to schools this year.

“Local authorities are directly responsible for setting school budgets and the latest figures show that local authority spend on education increased from £4.95bn in 2015-16 to £5.07bn in 2016-17 – a real terms increase of 0.3%. Councils can choose to use their powers to increase council tax, by up to 3%, to increase funds at their disposal to support local services.”

Murdo Fraser, the Scottish Tory finance spokesman, said: “The SNP plead poverty yet the Scottish Government received a real terms increase in its budget from Westminster this year.

“Derek Mackay also managed to undershoot his own budget by almost half a billion pounds. The nationalists must stop blaming Westminster and take some responsibility for cuts to local services and the sluggish rate of economic growth in this country.”