Councils across Tayside and Fife have been forced to splash out more than £96,000 to deal with infested schools and nurseries amid claims that facilities are crumbling.
Experts were called to deal with more than 1,700 incidents over the past three years, including a rat infestation in the nursery area of Airlie Primary School in Angus and bugs biting staff and children throughout Beanstalk Family Nurture Centre in Fife.
Official records show Dundee City Council forked out £7,808.91 to deal with pest control issues, while Angus and Perth and Kinross Councils paid £12,867.21 and £33,487.50 respectively. Fife Council spent a whopping £42,315 during the period.
The files, obtained through a series of Freedom of Information requests, revealed scores of occasions where exterminators were called time and again to carry out procedures at the same schools.
Perth Academy reported 50 incidents during the three-year period and Inverkeithing High School in Fife had a further 25, while Montrose Academy and Braeview Academy in Dundee had 20 and eight respectively.
North East MSP Bill Bowman claimed local authorities had been left “battling” to provide key statutory services, such as education and early learning, while the Scottish Government whittled away at core budgets.
He said: “Although there is an ongoing programme of replacement schools in Angus and Dundee, there is an increasing backlog of work in our primaries and older secondary schools. The councils just don’t have the money to carry these out.”
“Our children deserve safe, clean, decent and welcoming places to learn,” he added.
“The SNP Government must stop the rot, and the rats, before we have to abandon perfectly good schools to the elements and vermin.”
Scottish Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray has called on ministers to ensure all education facilities are wind and watertight after the Scottish Funding Council revealed a £360 million backlog of maintenance work at colleges and universities.
Mr Gray said students “deserve to learn in safe, secure and comfortable facilities” and insisted the Scottish Government must explain how they are going to provide “vital funds” for repairs.
However, a Scottish Government spokesman insisted ministers had “treated local government very fairly”.
He said: “This year, councils will receive funding through the local government finance settlement of £10.7 billion. This will provide a real terms boost in both revenue and capital funding.”
“As part of this, Perth and Kinross Council will have an additional £7.5 million revenue funding to spend on day to day services over what they had in 2017-18.”