Scotland is committed to PFI, says McConnell

13 Jan 00
Scottish finance minister Jack McConnell this week underlined the Scottish Executive's commitment to continuing with PFI and other public-private partnerships. But he added that the system was not the perfect solution, and would be kept under review.

14 January 2000

He told a Centre for Scottish Public Policy conference in Edinburgh that he had already announced changes aimed at improving the PFI process.

These included an option at the end of the contract period for buildings for which there was no practical alternative use – including most schools and hospitals – to revert to public sector ownership at no cost.

Surplus land would no longer be included in a contract unless it could be determined that it represented best value to do so. The Executive would make more information available than before, including annual expenditure commitments and the publication of full business cases for all future government-funded PFI projects in Scotland.

Effectively admitting that there had been shortcomings, McConnell stressed: 'Progress will not stop here. We do not claim to have the perfect solution and are committed to keeping the process under review.

'We will endeavour to see how we can make public-private partnerships better and how we can learn from experience.'

McConnell said the Executive would build on PFI changes it had already made. It was hoped these would lead to better value and operating practices and 'deliver the new schools, new hospitals and better transport links that will take Scotland into the next millennium'.


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