Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop is expected to be quizzed on "cronyism" and the proper use of state aid as she prepares to answer questions about £150,000 of public money handed to the T in Park festival.

Ahead of her appearance at Holyrood's Education and Culture Committee, Ms Hyslop maintains she did not have any funding discussions with a former SNP aide who went on to work for festival organisers DF Concerts.

Former Scottish Government special adviser Jennifer Dempsie contacted Ms Hyslop's private office two months before the festival was due to open, warning her current employer was facing "extreme difficulties" in managing the move from Balado to a new site in Strathallan.

Two weeks later, Ms Hyslop met with DF chief Geoff Ellis and business development manager Jo Blyth, and state aid was subsequently approved.

In an advance submission to the committee, the Scottish Government said: "Ms Dempsie did not attend that meeting or have any discussions with the Cabinet Secretary or the Scottish Government in relation to funding for T in the Park.

"DF Concerts and Events outlined a range of additional costs associated with the change of site for the T in the Park event and highlighted unanticipated further costs resulting from the time-limited condition attached to the planning consent.

"DF Concerts and Events confirmed that the 2015 event could be delivered under pressure but that the additional costs faced in relation to it were a threat to its longer-term viability on that site.

"Following detailed consideration of options, including consideration of DF Concerts and Events' finances and an application on June 29 2015 from DF Concerts and Events under state aid rules for support in relation to operational transition costs for T in the Park, the Cabinet Secretary approved funding of £150,000 from the Scottish Government's major events and themed years programme budget."

Labour MSP John Pentland said: "We need some honesty from the SNP government about this £150,000 payment and the extent of the involvement of a former SNP adviser.

"At a time when the SNP government is slashing the budget for local services, people will find it difficult to understand how such a successful company needs an extra £150,000 from the taxpayer.

"When Fiona Hyslop comes before the committee today in Parliament she needs to come clean about the business case for handing over £150,000 of public money to a successful company."

The Conservatives have questioned why public money was used to fund a "successful and commercially viable festival", and said Ms Dempsie's involvement has "prompted accusations of cronyism, given her close connections to the SNP".

Conservative culture spokeswoman Liz Smith said: "The public deserves to know what correspondence took place between the Cabinet Secretary's office and DF Concerts regarding the award of £150,000 and on what criteria was it granted.

"If the claim is being made that the future of the festival was in doubt if this money was not paid over, then surely there was a business case presented to support that argument.

"People want an answer to this question, particularly given the fact that DF Concerts is part of a profit-making enterprise."

Speaking ahead of the hearing, Ms Hyslop said: "The level of funding support provided was in line with the level of funding provided by Scottish Government and its bodies to the organisers of other major events such as Edinburgh's Hogmanay, the John Muir Festival, the World Pipe Band Championships, Celtic Connections and the International Book Festival.

"The grant was paid by the Scottish Government to DF Concerts and Events on 24 July 2015 and, in line with the Scottish Government's firm commitment to openness and transparency and in accordance with state aid rules, details of the award were proactively published on the Scottish Government's website on 28 July 2015.

"After looking into the matter carefully and taking advice from the Permanent Secretary, the First Minister has concluded that this issue was handled entirely appropriately.

"The awarding of this funding followed normal procedures and was based solely on the merits of the case following an objective assessment by Scottish Government officials. I look forward to answering any questions the committee has."