I was reading this evening in the Scotsman about the problems the SNP are causing in the Scottish Education system. When the SNP won the election back in May 2007 they stated their opposition to PFI/PPP. It was PFI/PPP schemes that resulted in new schools being built and schools being refurbished under the Labour Executive that lost in 2007.
The SNP said they were going to start a new scheme to pay for these projects: The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT). However, 18 months into their term they have yet to set up this scheme and it could be another 18 months before it comes to fruition (i.e. at the end of the SNP’s term of office).
The Scotsman reports that this is causing major problems for the 832 schools around scotlad that either need to be ripped down and rebuilt or refurbished as this work cannot begin yet.
Local Councils, as the Scottish Government have pointed out, are still free to approach the Government for funding under the PFI/PPP scheme. However, putting together a bid for funding is not cheap and councils are unwilling to risk spending the massive amounts of money required to put a bid together when the current Government is so opposed to the scheme. In short, they feel that the money will be wasted as the SNP administration is unlikely to approve any bids.
The article also reports that a spokesman for the First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP, has said that some 250 new schools would be built in the lifetime of this parliament. However, the spokesman was unable to confirm whether these 250 new schools would have been commissioned by the SNP or whether all (or the majority of) were commissioned under the pervious Executive (the cynic in me says that this means Labour will have commissioned the majority, if not all, of these new schools).
Jeremy Purvis MSP (Liberal Democrats) has said of the SNP administration:
“They have got themselves into that zone where they genuinely believe that the schools they are opening were conceived, were built, designed and financed by them.”
The SNP’s Education policies seem to be falling a part at the seams. They promised new schools and can’t deliver them; they promised smaller class sizes and can’t deliver them. The SNP wants to see an independent Scotland with a strong economy. That will never happen if the children of today (the wealth creators of tomorrow) cannot get a decent education because they are being taught in schools which are not fit for purpose, with fewer teachers and larger class sizes.