The Scottish government has unveiled a £1.25bn programme for the construction and refurbishment of 14 schools
However, the programme will not be funded by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), the Scottish National Party’s flagship programme that was to have replaced the PFI mechanism used by the previous Labour/Liberal Democrat administration. Instead, it will be funded directly by the Scottish government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.
The first primary school is scheduled for completion in 2011, the year of the next Scottish election, and the first secondary school in 2013.
The SFT, headed by Barry White, the former managing director of BAM Group’s UK PPP division, was to have procured public schemes, but has instead become a consultancy. Its budget is £4m.
The SNP pledged to build 100 schools in this parliamentary session, but that is now unlikely thanks to a two-year delay in programming as the government developed its alternative to the PFI.
Margaret Smith, the Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson, said the announcement raised “further questions about what on earth the SNP is doing throwing more money away on the Scottish Futures Trust”.