Schools project still costs Midlothian Council millions

Lawfield Primary School in Mayfield was one of the PFI schools built.
Lawfield Primary School in Mayfield was one of the PFI schools built.

A local MSP has claimed that Labour’s PFI schools scheme continues to rob money from council services, costing £10.4 million this year alone.

Highlighting analysis by the Scottish Parliament Information Centre, Midlothian North MSP Colin Beattie (SNP) claimed that the private finance initiative used by the party when in power at Holyrood proves that Labour can not be trusted to manage public services and accused it of short-term thinking.

Labour has hit back, refusing to apologise for building the “desperately needed” schools through the controversial payment scheme.

However, according to the analysis, the deals made by Labour will cost local authorities across Scotland £426.8 million in this financial year – with Midlothian Council facing a £10.4 million bill.

Colin Beattie said: “The toxic legacy that Labour’s PFI deals have left our schools and Midlothian Council continues to cost millions of pounds every year.

“While Labour carp from the sidelines about the SNP’s record, it is increasingly clear that we are still paying for the mess that Labour left over a decade ago .

“Labour’s spendthrift and reckless handling of our public finances continues to rob Midlothian of funds which could be put towards delivering better local services. And let’s not forget the potential consequences of Labour’s dodgy deals on jerry-built schools across Edinburgh – forced to close for nearly 500 days because of fundamental safety concerns.  

“It’s high time that Labour apologised for this toxic legacy that they’ve left for our schools, Midlothian Council and local authorities across the country.”

Labour group leader Derek Milligan said: “If it was not for the PFI/PPP Schemes Midlothian would not have been able to replace Dalkeith High, St David’s High and Saltersgate, as well as Gorebridge, Strathesk, Loanhead, St Margaret’s, Lawfield, Stobhill, Moorfoot and Tynewater Primary Schools. We make no apology for building the schools that these communities desperately needed.

“Colin Beattie’s criticism of the funding method is nothing other than a feeble attempt to deflect attention away from the cuts to council budgets imposed by the Scottish Government and the abysmal performance of the SNP in controlling Midlothian’s finances over the last five years. It is also utterly hypocritical when the method of funding for Newbattle High School is simply PFI by another name.”