PFI and PPP (Local Authority Finances)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 29 February 2024.

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Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

5. To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the impact of the repayment of private finance initiative and public-private partnership debts on local authority finances. (S6O-03146)

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

PFI and PPP unitary payments are a significant pressure on local authority budgets. There are 38 on-going local authority PFI and PPP contracts. Up to £8.15 billion has been paid on those contracts up to this year, with a further £7.25 billion of payments to be made over the coming years, which equates to £15.4 billion in payments for local authority projects with a capital value of £3.27 billion.

Photo of Clare Haughey Clare Haughey Scottish National Party

South Lanarkshire Council, which is the local authority for my constituency of Rutherglen, will be paying about £40 million this year in disastrous PFI repayments. That yearly figure will only rise over the coming decade. When the council entered into those contracts, Labour was in power at council level, in Holyrood and at Westminster. The £40 million is being removed from the council’s spending power this year at a time when the council proposes to close local facilities and cut free school bus provision. Will the Deputy First Minister assure me that, although it is contending with Labour’s toxic PFI legacy, which has failed to deliver the best value for the taxpayer, the Scottish Government will never return to the disastrous PFI model?

Photo of Shona Robison Shona Robison Scottish National Party

I absolutely give Clare Haughey that assurance, because PFI was an expensive mistake. Even if the PFI and PPP models of the Tories and Labour were an option, we would totally reject them, as they are extremely poor value for money. PFI simply did not deliver the best value for the people of Scotland, and we are still paying for the legacy of what were, in the main, Labour’s mistakes.