dimanche, avril 24, 2016

Scottish Labour is being shielded from the PFI fallout

Làbar ga dhìonadh bho chàineadh a thaobh PFI
Scottish Labour is being shielded 
from the PFI fallout
by GA Ponsonby
(13 April 2016)

It’s back with a bang and right in the middle of an election campaign. The Private Finance Initiative [PFI] funding mechanism so beloved of the Labour party back in the early 2000s has returned to haunt them.

The closure of seventeen schools in Edinburgh amid concerns for the safety of pupils caught everyone by surprise. The schools were inspected after a wall collapsed at another school back in January but nobody believed the checks were anything other than a formality and the schools were expected to reopen after the Easter break.

But that didn’t happen. Instead more faults were found and Edinburgh council, unable to guarantee the safety of pupils and staff, issued a statement late Friday announcing the indefinite closure of the schools.

The Labour party was in power north and south of the border when Brown was punting PFI. At Holyrood Gordon Brown’s devotion to PFI was shared by First Minister Jack [now Lord] McConnell. PFI was railroaded through civic Scotland.

But just as when Dugdale found herself in need of assistance when she U-turned on an unworkable tax rebate, the Scottish media has rushed to her aid again. Newspapers and broadcasters have bent over backwards to ensure Scottish Labour isn’t implicated in the school closure scandal. The words PFI and Labour have scarcely appeared in the same sentence.

PFI was eventually scrapped by the SNP when the party won the Holyrood election in 2007.