SFT savings pave way for 12 new schools


Savings of £131 million by the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) in the last financial year have enabled the country's school building programme to include an extra 12 new schools, according to the government.

The Scottish National Party (SNP), which set up the Trust to avoid what it saw as the worst excesses of private finance initiatives under previous administrations, hailed the results and said they demonstrated a stark contrast with “wasteful Westminster”.

Maureen Watt, the SNP member of the Scottish Parliament who convenes the Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committee, said:  “The fact that the SFT has achieved such a significant level of savings is fantastic news and will be warmly welcomed in the communities which will see new schools built in due course.

“This record of achieving the maximum impact for every penny of public investment stands in stark contrast to wasteful Westminster, where a staggering £31 billion was wasted over the last two years,” Ms Watt added.

The annual benefits statement, an independently verified report published by the SFT last month, showed that the Trust had met its financial target to release savings of between £100 million and £150 million per annum for the third year in a row.

The Scottish government has also announced it is allocating an additional £100 million to capital spending.

Alex Neil, cabinet secretary for infrastructure and capital investment, said every extra £100 million invested supported as many as 1,400 jobs in the Scottish economy.

He continued: “The savings SFT achieved last year, in collaboration with a wide range of public sector bodies, allow us to deliver more – more houses and schools, more health and community projects.”

But Mr Neil criticised the Westminster coalition for imposing severe budget cuts that hampered efforts to support infrastructure investment and jobs.

The SFT’s savings figures were established using calculations validated by accountancy and consultancy firm Grant Thornton and the London School of Economics.


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