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Date: 5 June 2012

Award confirms Scottish Futures Trust role as promoter of PPP

UNISON today challenged the Scottish Government to come clean about the real role of the Scottish Futures Trust after it won an international award for promoting PPP/PFI.

The union said that the Partnerships Bulletin prize makes clear what UNISON has said from the start about the Scottish Government’s flagship scheme - that it is about promoting private involvement in public infrastructure, not in securing best value in building schools and hospitals.

The Scottish Government claimed the SFT would be an alternative to PFI. Infrastructure and Capital Investment Secretary Alex Neil said recently again that the Scottish Government has “set the country free from the shackles of PFI.”

Dave Watson, UNISON head of Bargaining and Campaigns, said:

“The SFT is proud that it ‘swept the board’ at these PPP/PFI industry awards.

“But the public will want to know whether the Cabinet Secretary is proud that the SFT has been identified as the ‘best central/regional government PPP promoter’ and its chief executive as making the best individual contribution?

“That surely is not what was intended in setting up the Scottish Futures Trust. It should be about securing best value for the public sector.

“Everyone knows that PPP/PFI is more expensive than conventional funding of schools and hospitals. One of the reasons that PFI has such a bad name is because it was seen as ‘the only game in town’ and the private sector took full advantage of that.

“In fact, PPP is still the only game in town for many projects. The Scottish Government should be creating a level playing field as a minimum. Instead it is actively promoting PPP through the SFT. When the chief exec of the body that the Scottish Government said would put an end to PFI is winning awards for promoting it, there is something seriously wrong.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

  1. The Scottish Futures Trust won  the “Best central/regional government PPP promoter’ and two other awards. The National Housing Trust award is for a giant PPP scheme. SFT chief executive Barry White won ‘best individual contribution’.  http://www.partnershipsbulletin.com/awards/2012-winners.html
  1. UNISON Scotland’s briefings on PPP/PFI are on our website at  http://www.unison-scotland.org.uk/comms/pfi.html

For further information please contact:
UNISON’s Scottish Organiser Dave Watson on 07958 122 409
UNISON’s communications officer Trisha Hamilton on 0141 342 2877 / 07939 478 461.

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