Date: Tues 20 May 2008
Scottish Futures Trust looks like simply 'PFI-Lite', says UNISON
UNISON,the union that represents staff working for Scotland's
Public services, today called on the Scottish Government to stop
inventing new ways of delivering PFI and to start practical steps
to abandon it.
Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary today rejected the Scottish
Government's 'flagship' Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) plan as 'PFI-lite',
saying that the SFT looks like a vehicle to continue with private
sector funding and running of public services as is done in PFI/PPP.
UNISON Scotland has already submitted a response to the consultation
document and has given evidence (13 May) to the Scottish Parliament
Finance Committee's inquiry into the funding of public capital investment
The union has already set out its own five point alternative to
PFI - Reviewing existing contracts; Not awarding new contracts;
awarding government capital grants equally to all projects-irrespective
of the method of procurement; introducing prudential borrowing for
health boards; and strengthening the PPP staffing
Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said: "While UNISON will
have a close look at the detail of this plan, and initial look suggests
that the SFT is envisaged as a large bureaucracy to continue to
attract private investment to build public service infrastructure.
This merely puts a gloss of accountability on a fundamentally flawed
base. It is merely 'PFI-Lite'. No amount of spin can change the
fact that the private sector will continue to build, design and
run public services under this plan, and they will continue to take
a profit out of our essential services.
"Money raised from the private sector by the SFT will retain higher
borrowing costs, private profit will continue at contractor level
and the excessive risk transfer costs look like they will continue.
This is likely to lead to the same profiteering and inflexibility
as other PFI schemes.
"Evidence is stacked against PFI. The public have said they do
not want it, and it is time to say 'no more'. We have already outlined
how this can be started in five steps
"If the Scottish Government can conclude that public funding provides
the best value for money for the massive new hospital campus at
Glasgow's Southern General site, why can this not be the approach
He will cite UNISON research* finding that
billions of pounds of taxpayers' money is being wasted on expensive
PFI projects such as schools and hospitals which could be built
more cheaply using conventional funding.
Notes for editors *The main evidence submitted in Dec 2007
to the Finance Committee's Inquiry is at: http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/capitalinvest.html
UNISON's submission to the Scottish Government consultation on the
Scottish Futures Trust is at: www.unison-scotland.org.uk/response/sftresponsemarch08.html
'At What Cost' is on the UNISON Scotland website at: www.unison-scotland.org.uk/comms/atwhatcostoct07.pdf
For Further Information Please Contact: Matt Smith (Scottish
Secretary) 07771 548 997m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer)
0771 558 3729(m)