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Spending a Scottish penny

The lead article in your Scottish special (NCE last week) sets out the SNP-led government's plans for future capital expenditure in Scotland and states that a Scottish Futures Trust bonds mechanism will 'provide an alternative funding route for public infrastructure projects'.

The SNP is diametrically opposed to the PFI model and is currently conducting a consultation on alternative funding mechanisms with a view to squeezing out PFI and replacing this with its Scottish Futures Trust.

Unfortunately the Scottish government does not have the power to issue such bonds, and is unlikely ever to obtain such powers as long as Gordon Brown is in power. As a result, there is a potential hiatus looming on the funding of projects that would previously have been funded by PFI, including an extensive schools improvement programme that is currently on hold.

The effect of this should not be underestimated. Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond should beware the wrath of Scottish parents when they realise that their beloved offspring now face the prospect of continuing to be educated in crumbling, inadequate schools that they had expected to have been replaced within the next few years.

JOHN ARCHIBALD (M)johnrarchibald@btinternet.com

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