THE 10% pay award being sought by teachers is “unaffordable” and will impact the rest of the education budget if it goes ahead, the Education Secretary has said.

As a strike looms later this week, threatening to close schools across Scotland, Shirley-Anne Somerville said there would be “implications” for the education portfolio if a new pay offer was tabled to avert the industrial action.

Members of the EIS (Educational Institute of Scotland), Scotland’s largest teaching union, are currently due to go on strike this Thursday for the first time in decades.

The Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association (SSTA) has also set strike dates for December.

READ MORE: Teachers announce more strikes across Scotland

On Tuesday, Somerville updated MSPs on what was being done to prevent the strike.

She said strikes were in no-one’s interest, saying discussions were ongoing with Cosla to deliver a “fair, affordable and sustainable” settlement for teachers.

The Education Secretary continued: “The UK Government made clear in the autumn statement that there is no additional support for public sector pay. Not one penny.

“So I’m afraid the 10% pay claim that is coming from the teacher unions is unaffordable to the Scottish Government.

“Any extra money for pay deals will have to be found elsewhere within an already contained Scottish Government budget.”

“So fault with the place that we are in lies absolutely with the UK Government and the mess that they have driven to the UK economy and the levels of inflation.”

The Conservatives’ Stephen Kerr said the Education Secretary should have taken action sooner.

READ MORE: 'Upsetting to see strikes called Unionist plots', says trade union chief

He said: “Teachers have been let down by an SNP Government too slow to come to the table and take decisive action to resolve the pay disputes”.

He branded the Education Secretary’s earlier statement an “embarrassment to Scotland”.

Kerr said: “To have a Cabinet Secretary, in an area which is fully devolved like education, blame the UK Government, it is beyond pathetic.”

Somerville later told the Lib DemsWillie Rennie that the Government was “determined” to support teachers but there would be “implications” for the rest of the education budget if an approved deal went ahead.