In a parliamentary question to the Deputy Leader of the House, Stirling MP Steven Paterson highlighted the structural issues found in Balfron High School recently and called for a parliamentary debate on what he referred to as “the great PFI swindle”.
During his question, Mr Paterson said:
“Balfron High School in my constituency was built by the PFI scheme. PFI was invented by the Conservatives and pursued by Labour. The school has a capital value of £16 million but the Stirling taxpayer will now be expected to pay £71.1 million for it. It has now been discovered to have structural defects which means that it is now partially closed and children are having to be driven to Stirling – a distance of around 40 miles. Can we have a debate on the great PFI swindle?”
The Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Thérèse Coffey MP, acknowledged that PFI had caused concerns for pupils and education services and advised that the private suppliers of such projects should bear the risk of structural defects.
Commenting, Steven Paterson said:
“PFI in Scotland is Labour’s toxic legacy. After a number of PFI procured schools in Edinburgh were forced to close, it was deeply concerning that Balfron High, the only fully PFI procured school in the Stirling area, has been found to have had potentially dangerous structural deficiencies.
“The credit card economics of this obscenely expensive project is set to cost taxpayers in Stirling more than four times its real value. The Tory/Labour Administration on Stirling Council’s decision to run away from this issue and not back SNP calls for an independent investigation is hugely disappointing and it is now vitally important that a proper debate on this matter takes place in Parliament.”