Fife families have been left hundreds of pounds out of pocket following the cancellation of school trips after lockdown.
Parents who paid their children’s schools for activities organised by outdoor education provider PGL have been waiting for refunds since March.
All trips, including to PGL’s Dalguise centre near Dunkeld, were called off at the beginning of the coronavirus crisis in line with Scottish and UK government advice.
While Fife Council is pursuing PGL for payments, the company has said all claims must be made via individual schools’ insurance policies.
North East Fife Liberal Democrat politicians Wendy Chamberlain and Willie Rennie said many families’ incomes were already squeezed as a result of the pandemic and that holding on to payments was adding “insult to injury”.
They have called on the council to refund the fees to parents whose children are no longer attending trips.
MSP Willie Rennie said: “While it is obvious that cancelling these trips was the right thing to do for safety reasons, there is no obvious reason why Fife Council should hold on to the costs of cancelled trips.
“Many parents are already feeling the squeeze on their incomes and purse strings due to the coronavirus pandemic and this money could go a long way to helping them make ends meet.”
Wendy Chamberlain MP said money should be repaid as soon as possible.
“While I’m sure everyone is equally disappointed these trips were cancelled, it could only add insult to injury that parents do not receive refunds as soon as they were.
“Many parents may be happy to save the money and put it towards future trips but it should be up to them what they do with their money.
“I hope the council does the right thing and offers the families affected a refund.”
Fife Council’s head of legal and democratic services Morag Ferguson confirmed the authority’s legal team has written to PGL asking them to progress refunds to those affected.
She added: “We are aware that a number of schools are waiting for refunds from PGL.
“We are pursuing this with the company and hope for a speedy response.”
PGL said just under 2,000 UK school bookings had been cancelled and it was supporting those affected in making an insurance claim.