Public private finance – secret and eye wateringly expensive

Susan Kennedy

#STUC16 The STUC will call for an independent enquiry into PFI/PPP funding models for public sector building work, as well as into the Edinburgh schools contracts which has led to such disruption for pupils, families and staff.

Seconding an emergency motion from the EIS, UNISON’s Susan Kennedy told delegates that  the issues raised around PPP by what has happened in Edinburgh  go well beyond a single project and call into question the whole funding model as it has been used from its inception to the present and plans to continue using it in the future.

“PFI PPP NPD are all different names for the same problem,” Susan said. “They are all flawed and we need them all investigated. We need them all to be made transparent and we need to explore ways of bringing them back in house.

“UNISON has been one of the strongest campaigners against PPP/PFI and we have raised concerns for many years about the disastrously costly mistakes of using it for schools, hospitals and other public infrastructure.

“PPP/PFI has been eye wateringly expensive, with secretive contracts that have been acknowledged now by so many as being a rip off.

“At a time of austerity where local government budgets are being sliced and education has no protection from these cuts the ongoing costs of schools and other contracts are having a major impact we need to act.

She added her voice to the call for the next Scottish Government to commission an inquiry into all Public Private Partnership infrastructure projects in Scotland. This inquiry should include within its remit what can be done to open up the contracts and charging regimes to public scrutiny and to examine the opportunity of historic low borrowing rates on capital to refinance or bring back these schemes into the public sector to provide better value for public money.

“We must say to the First Minister ‘Don’t just investigate the schemes that suits you Nicola. We need to look at all of them,” urged Susan.

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