Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard has called on Nicola Sturgeon to apologise for breaking a promise to scrap student debt, now standing at £5 billion in Scotland.
Speaking at First Minister’s Questions, Mr Leonard said the average student debt in Scotland has more than doubled to £13,200 since the promise was made in SNP election campaign leaflets.
He said the total value has increased 169% to £5 billion since the SNP came to power.
“Nicola Sturgeon did not dump the debt, she dumped the promise,” Mr Leonard said.
“Even by the standards of this government, promising to scrap student debt and then increasing it by 169% is nothing short of shameful.
“Will the First Minister today do the right thing and will she apologise for her £5 billion broken promise?”
The SNP leader said she is “proud” of her government’s record on student debt, which she pointed out is lower than any other country in the UK.
She credited this in part to decision not introduce tuition fees and said when Labour were last in power they wanted to introduce tuition fees.
She added: “Student debt in Scotland is lower than student debt any other part of the UK because of the policies of this government.
“Richard Leonard cites the figure in Scotland of £13,230. In England average student debt is £34,800, in Northern Ireland it is £22,440 and in Wales, where Labour are in government, student debt is not the £13,000 it is in Scotland, it is £21,500.
“Yet another example of Labour telling us to do as they say, not as they do.”