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Tues 13 May 2008

Abandon PFI, don't tinker with it, says UNISON

MSPs will be urged today to call on the Scottish Government to abandon the policy of PFI/PPP, reject the Scottish Government's proposals to continue with so-called Non Profit Distributing (NPD) Models of PFI and its 'flagship' Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) plan.

UNISON Scotland is giving evidence today (13 May) to the Scottish Parliament Finance Committee's inquiry into the funding of public capital investment projects. The union has already set out a 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 protocol*.

Dave Watson, UNISON's Scottish Organiser will say: "The SFT plan for a new giant private company to run all Scotland's future PFI schemes merely puts a gloss of accountability on a fundamentally flawed base.

"NPD models retain the higher borrowing costs, private profit at contractor level and elements of risk transfer costs that 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 done 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 across Scotland?"

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 UNISON's summary evidence to the Finance Committee for the 13 May meeting is available from Chris Bartter (below or at c.bartter@unison.co.uk)

*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: Dave Watson (Scottish organiser - Policy) 07958 122 409 (m) Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)