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RENFREWSHIRE CHALLENGES SCOTTISH EXECUTIVE OVER PFI FOR SCHOOLS

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Renfrewshire Council has challenged the Scottish executive to justify its support for building new schools under th...
Renfrewshire Council has challenged the Scottish executive to justify its support for building new schools under the private finance initiative, reported The Herald (8 July, p6).

The council has asked the government to prove beyond reasonable doubt that PFI meets best value criteria, before it will sanction any such schemes in Renfrewshire.

The decision follows a move by education committee vice convener Iain Hogg, who spelled out his opposition to the policy in a letter circulated to all Labour group members on the eve of a meeting to discuss the use of the PFI.

He wrote that 'privatising education' was morally indefensible and electorally unpopular, and it would be retrograde in the extreme for a Labour administration 'to sanction profiteering in a system which has been run as a non-profit making concern for over 100 years'.

His plea resulted in the full council agreeing it will look at a PFI school scheme only if the Scottish executive demonstrates best value.

Mr Hogg said: 'I do not think the executive has a hope in hell of meeting our caveat.' He added: 'PFI is a policy entertained only by the desperate. It's a Tory policy, and changing the name to public-private partnership from PFI is like changing the nsame Windscale to Sellafield. They are still the same.'

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