Public-private Partnership (Guidance)

Question Time — Scottish Executive — Finance and Public Services and Communities – in the Scottish Parliament at 2:15 pm on 8th March 2007.

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Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Scottish National Party 2:15 pm, 8th March 2007

To ask the Scottish Executive what guidance and advice are given to local authorities on bridging any affordability gap for public-private partnership projects. (S2O-12253)

Photo of George Lyon George Lyon Liberal Democrat

It is the responsibility of each local authority, as the procuring body, to ensure that its PPP project is affordable for the full length of the contract. It is a condition of any part-funding support provided by the Executive for a local authority PPP project that the local authority confirms to us that the project is affordable and that the local authority has the resources to carry it out.

Photo of Adam Ingram Adam Ingram Scottish National Party

In light of the minister's answer, I take it that he approves of the approach of South Ayrshire Council in imposing an additional 1 per cent levy on council tax payers to help bridge the gap in its schools PPP project. Can he confirm that future school rationalisation programmes would also be a legitimate tactic for South Ayrshire Council to employ to achieve the same end? According to the out-going Labour councillor Paul Torrance, just such a programme will be adopted for rural schools in South Ayrshire once the May elections are got out of the way.

Photo of George Lyon George Lyon Liberal Democrat

It is not for me to comment on South Ayrshire Council's decisions. As with some other schools PPP projects, South Ayrshire Council identified an affordability gap during procurement, but it was bridged prior to financial close. As the procuring body, the local authority must ensure that it can afford any project that it undertakes. It is up to the local authority to decide how it will afford the project in the longer term.

Photo of Robin Harper Robin Harper Green

In the light of Malcolm Fraser's resignation from Architecture Scotland, will the Executive commission a review of sustainability and the environmental and educational value for money of schools PPP projects in Scotland?

Photo of George Lyon George Lyon Liberal Democrat

I understand that Architecture Scotland is already working with us on that issue.