Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2-years of dithering = £1billion of lost public investment

The Education Secretary is due to make a Parliamentary statement on school buildings this afternoon ... rumour has it that 'said-statement' will contain the first schools to be built under the SFT banner.

Now, before all you Nationalists out there get too ecstatic ... apparently they will be built using the NPD model, which is basically a variant of PPP that was pioneered by Argyll & Bute Council several years ago. And the chances of any of these buildings being complete by mid-2011 are frankly ZERO ... so, it's now looking certain that not ONE SINGLE new school contract will be initiated, and then that school built and actually opened all within this term (May 2007-May 2011) of the current Scottish Government. A truly shocking failure.

Just maybe all of this is why Sir Angus Grossart (Chair of the multi-million pound SFT Board) said at Holyrood yesterday that "Our approach will be ecumenical."

That's code for, 'this bloody job I was given to make SFT work is a nightmare and I'm just going back to previous models of funding school buildings.'

In likely, further bad news for Edinburgh it appears the schools to be announced today will be in Midlothian, West Dunbartonshire and Angus.

I do hope I'm wrong - but if not, then Portobello (and the other Wave3 schools) will have a very long wait for any construction to be completed.

All that would mean: 34 new schools in Edinburgh between 1999 and 2006 compared to NO new schools between 2007 and 2014.

Brick-for-brick eh?


And just a factual note on what this completely pointless, two-year hiatus has meant:

2. Public Investment Projects

The value of new public investment projects reaching the stage where they can start construction has fallen by more than £1 billion since the SNP came to power, according to the Infrastructure Investment Unit.

Year --- Value reaching Financial Close
2006 --- £1128.1m actual
2007 --- £1308.9m actual
2008 --- £ 303.0m actual
2009 --- £ 465.0m expected

(Source: Scottish Parliament Information Centre)

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