Nicola Sturgeon has said the Conservatives have a "nerve" to criticise the Scottish Government's funding of policing in Scotland.

At FMQs, Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw highlighted the condition of police stations across the country as evidence of insufficient investment.

It follows comments made by Scottish Police Authority (SPA) vice-chairman David Crichton that there is a "structural deficit" in the policing budget.

At Holyrood on Tuesday, Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf said it was "unhelpful" to use "hyperbole" to say police stations are falling apart.
Just hours after those remarks, the ceiling at Broughty Ferry police station in Dundee collapsed, The Courier newspaper reported.

Questioning the First Minister, Carlaw said: "Water pouring in through ceilings and windows, mushrooms growing in the carpets and rats scurrying about the mouldy floors, what word would the First Minister use to describe the state of some of Scotland's police stations?"

Sturgeon suggested it was Carlaw's party that was guilty of underfunding police services in the UK.

The National:

She said: "I do think that Jackson Carlaw has something of a nerve to raise issues like this because before I address the issue directly, let me just remind Jackson Carlaw and the chamber that it was indeed the Conservative Party that reduced the resource budget of this Government by £1.5 billion, that's 5% in real terms, since 2010.

"It's also the Conservatives who have robbed the Scottish police service of £125 million in VAT that should never have been claimed.

"But despite all of that, since 2016 the annual budget for policing in Scotland has increased by more than £80 million, bringing it to £1.2 billion in this year."

She added: "The capital budget of the service has increased in this year alone by 52% to support the roll-out of mobile technology.

"So we are investing in police officers, also of course maintaining 1000 more police officers in our communities, while the Tories have cut 20,000 from the streets in England.

"So we'll take no lectures from the Conservatives on matters of public services and as we prepare our budget for the year ahead, our priority will continue to be investment in public services and we'll leave Jackson Carlaw to argue for tax cuts for the highest paid in our country."

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The National:

Meanwhile, two men were reportedly removed from the public gallery for shouting during a question from the SNP's Bob Doris.

The session was suspended for a brief period while the situation was dealt with.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard used his questions to challenge the SNP's record on student loans – namely their pledge to "dump the debt monster".

He quizzed Sturgeon on the issue at First Minister's Questions after it emerged students in Scotland owe £5.5 billion – more than double the level of debt in 2010.

Leonard asked the First Minister: "Will you simply admit that the SNP misled students and will you apologise to them?"

The First Minister pointed to work the Scottish Government has done to support students, including free access to further and higher education and a number of bursary measures.

She also said Scotland has the lowest level of student debt in the UK at an average of £13,800 compared to more than £35,000 in England, £23,550 in Northern Ireland and £22,928 in Labour-held Wales.

This prompted the First Minister to say it should be the Labour Party apologising to students.

Leonard said the First Minister and the Scottish Government has not stood by its commitment to implement a minimum student income based on the living wage.

The Scottish Government commissioned an independent review on student support, which published its findings in 2017, along with a list of

recommendations including increasing the total amount paid to students to £8100 a year and increasing the salary threshold for repayments to £22,000.

He said: "Two years on, nothing has happened. You are letting students down.
"How many generations of Scottish students have to go through university before this Government keeps any promise on support for student living?"

The First Minister took issue with the Labour leader's assertion that nothing had been done to implement the recommendations of the report - which were also supported by the Scottish Parliament.

She said Scottish students had the smallest increase in student loan debt across the UK.

She added: "I hope Richard Leonard is going to listen to the detail of this answer.

"The part I want to on to in detail is what Richard Leonard said about action taken following the student support review.

"This is the detail I would like him to pay attention to – firstly, we have begun to implement the income guarantee by increasing the bursary for care experienced students to £8100 a year."

She went on to list a number of measures taken by the Scottish Government, adding: "Richard Leonard may describe that as nothing but for students across the country it means more money in their pockets and I think they will welcome it warmly indeed."