UNISONScotland www
This is our archive website that is no longer being updated.
For the new website please go to
Click here
Home News About us Join Us Contacts Help Resources Learning Links UNISON UK




Sponsorship Comms Index Communications Forum Campaigns News Scotland inUNISON Press Releases


Communications Index | Press releases | Scotland inUNISON | Campaigns


Date: Tuesday 2 October 2007

New figures compiled from official documents confirm that billions of pounds are being wasted on PFI and PPP projects in Scotland.

UNISON Scotland today revealed two key figures from the largest ever study of official PFI documents, looking at the 'value for money' claims used to justify building new schools and hospitals with private funding.

These show firstly that the controversial Private Finance Initiative and other forms of Public Private Partnerships could be costing Scottish taxpayers around £2.1 billion more than conventional funding.

Secondly, this extra cost is supposedly justified by claiming that £3.5 billion of risk has been transferred to the private sector - a figure UNISON Scotland likens to a rip-off £3.5 billion insurance policy.

Scottish Organiser Dave Watson said that in fact ultimately the risk is borne by the taxpayer, as shown by the recent collapse of London Underground contractor Metronet.

He said: "Our research published today confirms from the official figures that the scandal that is PFI is costing taxpayers in Scotland billions of pounds more than public sector funding. "Documents show that funding new schools and hospitals the conventional way could cost around £2.1 billion less. They also show that £3.5 billion has been added to the taxpayers' bill, to massage the figures in favour of private funding.

"These are just two figures from the range of ways in which private companies are profiteering at the expense of school children, hospital patients and taxpayers. Other factors include refinancing, high rates of return, the higher cost of private financing, land sales and the PFI private equity market.

"Unfortunately too often the financial figures are kept from the public due to claimed commercial confidentiality.

"We totally dispute the rigged calculations used to justify PFI and PPP schemes. All the figures should be provided for public scrutiny. And we believe that the £3.5 billion 'insurance' policy against problems with the contracts, and rising costs, could be secured far more cheaply."

The report "At What Cost" also lists immediate steps the Scottish Government could take to prevent further billions being wasted. Mr Watson added: "We want to see all existing contracts reviewed and no new PPP contracts approved. Scottish Government grants should be made available for all new capital projects on a proper level playing field basis, regardless of the method of procurement."

For further information please contact: Dave Watson (Scottish Organiser) 07958 122 409(m) Fiona Montgomery(Information Development officer) 0141 342 2852(w)

Notes to Editors:

1. The report, At What Cost, examines the Final Business Cases for 35 projects and extrapolates these key figures to the 129 current and planned projects.

2. The report, including tables showing figures for the 35 projects covered, is available online from the afternoon of Monday 1 October, at: www.unison-scotland.org.uk/comms/pfi.html

3. Last week the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee announced an inquiry into the funding of capital projects. This report and other evidence will be provided to the Committee.

4. UNISON Scotland is also making a number of appeals to the Scottish Information Commissioner challenging attempts by public bodies to keep PFI/PPP financial information secret based on 'commercial confidentiality'. We support bringing companies involved in PFI/PPP contracts under the scope of Scottish Freedom of Information legislation.

5. An example of the problems in obtaining documents is detailed in the report (Note 16). Incredibly neither the Scottish Executive nor Scottish Water could provide a single Final Business Case for any of the nine water treatment projects, claiming they are 'not held'.