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Date: 6 March 2009

PFI car parking contractors in line for £170,000 windfall

The parking contractors that run the car parking at Edinburgh’s Royal Infirmary, are set to make around an extra £170,000 profit because of government actions to tackle the credit crunch, according to Scotland’s healthcare union, UNISON today.

Speaking at the Scottish Labour Party Conference in Dundee this morning, UNISON delegate, Morag Houston said:

“Our Lothian Health Branch has just found out that the private contractors who run the car parking at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary are cashing it in on the back of the government’s decision to reduce VAT by 2.5% this year. Because this has not been included in the contractual details – either with the parking sub-contractors Meteor, or with the main contractor, Consort – they are charging £70,000 to recalibrate their parking machines to take off that 2.5%, and will charge a further £70K to change them back when the VAT reverts to 17.5%! And that is after they have already made an extra £29,000 because they haven’t already changed the machines to reduce the extra 2.5%.”

UNISON, was backing a motion giving support to the private member’s bill proposed by Paul Martin MSP, which, if successful, would make charging for car parking illegal throughout Scotland’s NHS, including in PFI funded facilities.

Tam Waterson, Chair of UNISON’s Lothian Health Branch said:

“It is exactly this kind of contractual inflexibility and profiteering at the expense of our NHS, which UNISON has campaigned against from the first days of PFI. We need to get behind Paul Martin’s bill to deal with the scandal of car parking charges imposed on those who are sick, their families and friends and the staff who care for them, but more than that – we need to continue to fight to get rid of this expensive, inflexible and inefficient way of funding our vital public works – whether it is called, PFI, PPP or SFT.”

The motion was passed.

ENDS

Note for editors:
You can see video footage of Paul Martin MSP launching his bill in January with the support of UNISON members at http://www.youtube.com/user/UNISONScotland.

For Further Information Please Contact:
Malcolm Burns (Information Dev Officer) 07876 566 978(m)
Chris Bartter (Communications Officer) 0771 558 3729(m)
Morag Houston (UNISON Delegate – LP Conference)- please contact Chris Bartter
Tom Waterston (UNISON Lothian Health Branch Chair) 07753 627 575(m)

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