Concern over £13m ‘scam’ caused by private finance deals



East Renfrewshire council is ‘snatched up £13m’ as it continues to pay private funding deals used to replace or upgrade schools, Barrhead MSP has claimed.

Six of East Renfrewshire’s 32 schools are linked to Private Finance Initiative (PFI) or Public-Private Partnership (PPP) schemes.

However, Renfrewshire South MSP Tom Arthur said the “miserable” contracts eat into the amount of money council leaders can spend on education.

He pointed out that research by the Scottish Parliament Information Center (SPICe) found that the amount East Renfrewshire Council disbursed represents 11 per cent of its education resource funding, meaning “millions are wasted” on contracts.

Mr Arthur told the Barrhead News: ‘The rotten PFI contracts were brought in by the Tories but supercharged by the Labour-led Scottish Government and have unnecessarily cost councils across Scotland, including East Renfrewshire.

“It is incredible that the lasting legacy of Labor governments continues to be felt as school budgets are drastically eaten up by these miserable contracts.

“The SNP have scrapped PFI contracts, meaning the money can be spent on young Scots and not on absurdly expensive contracts.”

In response, a spokesperson for East Renfrewshire Council said: “The annual payments made by the council cover the costs of building the new school facilities and keeping them in good condition for the duration of the 25-year contract.

“The council receives £5.2 million each year in government grants to cover annual costs.

“Before finalizing the contracts, the terms and conditions were independently audited by leading external accounting firms to ensure they represented the best value for the board.”

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