MSP Condemns Aberdeenshire Council’s PFI Burden

>> 29 November 2012

SNP North East MSP Mark McDonald has condemned figures showing the shocking extent of Aberdeenshire Council’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) burden in years to come.

Mr McDonald’s comments come after the figures, published by the UK Treasury, showed that the council would be saddled with a £300 million debt in return for just £80 million worth of completed projects under contracts agreed to by the previous Labour/Liberal administration.

Under the initiative, councils and health boards were encouraged to enter into agreements with private companies to build facilities such as schools and hospitals, and they would be paid back over a number of years.

However, this has left Scotland’s councils with a debt of £14.4 billion to be paid off over the next 30-40 years, which will only have paid for £3.2 billion worth of projects.

Commenting, Mr McDonald said,

"This misguided funding arrangement has left Scotland’s councils and health boards with a millstone around their necks, as they have been saddled with debt worth up to five times the value of what it is paying for, and that will take a generation to pay off.

"It is important that we secure the future of our local authorities by ensuring that they are not hamstrung by the debt caused by this ill-conceived initiative. That is why I am glad that the Scottish Government has replaced PFI with the new Non-Profit Distributing model, which makes sure our councils get value for money when dealing with private companies."

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