Stuart McMillan has responded to comments from Labour Inverclyde Council Leader Stephen McCabe, in today’s Greenock Telegraph in which he calls on the SNP MSP to “praise the Labour-led council for the fantastic schools”.
The outburst came from Mr McCabe as he tried to defend road conditions in Inverclyde on International Pothole Day.
Replying Mr McMillan said:
“Since my election, I have never used schools as a political football so it’s disappointing that Cllr. McCabe has lowered the political debate to this level.
“I of course welcome any new and refurbished schools in the area and I’m sure everyone in Inverclyde will do so too as there had of course been a lack of investment for years under previous Labour and Liberal administrations.
“However, If Cllr. McCabe wants to talk about Schools then he should maybe talk about how Inverclyde Council has used the discredited PPP/PFI funding to pay for some of the schools. These agreements have a capital cost of approximately £78million but by the time they are paid off in another 25 years, Inverclyde will have paid back over £321million.
“Every year Inverclyde Council is paying back millions of pounds, mostly in interest, to pay the bill. By the time the bill is paid off in 25 years time, Inverclyde will have paid for the schools 4 times over.
“One of the Schools that was built wasn’t even big enough for the number of pupils they planned to sent to it.
“PPP/PFI has been widely discredited and the annual bill to the Scottish taxpayer is approaching £1billion.
“New and refurbished schools are welcome but we should be paying for them sensibly, not at pay day loan rates.”
Ronnie Cowan, SNP candidate added:
“Labour neglected Inverclyde’s Schools for decades, and when they finally decided to do something about it they signed up to a scheme which would see tax payers pay for the schools 4 times over.
“The whole financial arrangement is farcical and has left a hole in the finances of the area. The SNP government has since promoted a non-profit distributing model. This is a form of public-private partnership which caps private sector returns, with excess profit returning to the public funds.”