Labour's PFI nightmareNew Scottish Government figures have revealed that 5 per cent of Scotland’s local authority education budgets are draining down Labour’s PFI plughole.

A written answer to Christina McKelvie MSP discloses that PFI revenue costs accounted for 5 per cent of total gross local authority education expenditure in 2008-09, and increase of 1.2 per cent on the previous year. The figure equates to £244 million, an increase of £62 million on 2007-08.

Commenting, SNP MSP Ms McKelvie, a member of Holyrood’s Education Committee, said:

“A full 5 per cent of funds that should have been spent on education services in Scotland has drained away down Labour’s PFI plughole.

“The huge sum of £244 million that this represents lays bare the dreadful legacy of Labour’s PFI obsession, the burden of which is now being borne by Scotland’s schools, teachers, parents and pupils. When they were in office, Labour chose to mortgage the financial future of Scotland’s councils and the upshot is that, with each passing year, larger and larger sums of money are having to be taken out of Scotland’s classrooms in order to pay the PFI bills.

“In my own area, almost £15 million was slashed from the South Lanarkshire education budget alone. Councils across Scotland are obliged to pay for the private profits of the PFI companies before they can even begin to think about buying a single book or employing a single teacher or classroom assistant.

“At a time when all public sector spending in Scotland has been put under enormous pressure by the £800 million of cuts imposed on the Scottish budget by Labour at Westminster, local authorities are having to cope with this additional drain on their resources imposed by Labour in Scotland.

“Only the SNP can be trusted to work to protect spending on frontline services such as education, in the face not only of Labour cuts but of Labour’s PFI debt legacy as well.”