USING private finance deals to pay for major public projects was questioned yesterday, after more than £20 million of taxpayers’ money was spent returning a troubled college into public ownership.
The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) approved the £27.5 million buy-out of West Lothian College’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) contract.
Six years ago, the college became the first in Scotland, and just the second in the UK, to be built using PFI.
But in 2005, the Scottish Parliament’s audit committee warned that the college faced an £11 million budget shortfall as it tried to meet its PFI payments over the next 20 years.
Late last year, the Scottish Executive backed the SFC’s recommendation that the college’s PFI contract be bought out.
PFI buyout costs taxpayers £20m