Monday, 7 March 2011

SNP Demands Councils use PPP

I have been having a few comments published on the Universality of Cheese website. The subject being how wonderful the SNP has been for the people of Scotland.

I raised the question of why no new schools had been commissioned by Holyrood during most of the SNP's reign, but got the usual blank looks from the nat contributors. So I have decided to post a simple narrative.

Here it is;

Before they got elected, the SNP attacked PPP relentlessly making much of the costs of PPP contracts.

The SNP promised that, if elected, that they would abolish PPP.

The SNP said that, if they were in power, PPP would be replaced by a Scottish Futures Trust.

The SNP said that the Scottish Futures Trust would be a new method of financing capital projects such as schools.

The SNP also said it would use the Scottish Futures Trust to match Labour's school building programme "brick for brick".

The SNP gathered lots of protest votes against PPP. They also gathered votes on the promise to build many new schools (as Labour had done), matching Labour's school building programme "brick for brick".

When the SNP took power, it stopped all new school funding from Holyrood because it refused to use the hated PPP to fund new schools. The SNP wanted the new finnacing mecahnism, the SFT, to provide the funding mechanism for the programme to match Labour's school building programme "brick for brick".

Unfortunately, after 3 years of faffing around, the SFT was still not defined. It had no substance and no shape. It was a blob of fantasy: nobody knew what it was, what it meant, how it would be funded, how it would work.... It transired that, although the SNP had promised the SFT in its manifesto, nobody in the SNP had actually thought out how the SFT woud work! And all the effort over three desparate years had produced nothing. It was a mess.

In 2010 the Education Minister was sacked and a new one appointed. Some money was, at last, released from Holyrood funds to councils to help build schools (the SNP administration provided 50% matched funding rather than the 60% that Labour had, but it was something...).

14 new secondary schools were identified for the whole of Scotland. For comparison, 3 new secondaries were built in my own council area between 2003  and 2007, so 14 for the whole of Scotland was pretty miserable. Still it was something......

Meanwhile an organisation called the Scottish Futures Trust was established. It had no money in any "trust" nor any method of generating money. It was not a method of financing new projects. It was, in fact, that old chestnut, "free" money from pooling purchasing efforts and standardising requirements. It was, to be frank, two men and a Microsoft Project software package. Tried before, failed before.

Although, to give the so-called Scottish Futures Trust its due, it is Scottish....

Then it emerged that a condition of getting access to the funding from Holyrood was that SNP MInisters were insisting that a PPP method of funding had to be used to finance and run the new schoools projects.

So. The whole sorry saga..... the SNP builds PPP into some sort of ogre, getting protest votes on the basis that the SNP will scrap the hated PPP. Then, in power, SNP refuses for idealogical reasons to use PPP to fund new projects. Then the SNP fails to produce the promised Scottish Futres Trust, or any other financing mechanism for capital projects. Then , in desparation, the SNP ressurrects PPP and insists that councils use it!

Incompetence. Ideaological rigidity. Ignorance. And straightforward lies.

And the upshot is: no new government funded schools in 4 years.

A complete and utter fiasco and disgrace.

1 comment:

  1. on the otehr hand, here is what they wanted to avoid...