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Tuesday, 25 June, 2002, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Private funding for 300 new schools
Construction site
Private finance will be used to pay for 300 new schools
Private finance initiatives are to be used to rebuild or refurbish 300 schools, the Scottish Executive has announced.

More than 1bn will be spent as part of the biggest-ever school buildings programme north of the border, according to Education Minister Cathy Jamieson.

The building projects will be spread across 15 council areas, and the minister claimed they would end decades of neglect in Scotland's schools.

South Lanarkshire Council will be allowed to enter into deals worth the most at 150m, but Dundee plans to spend 100m as does Highland Council.

Cathy Jamieson
Cathy Jamieson said it would end years of neglect

Ms Jamieson announced the investment during a visit to Queen Anne High School in Dunfermline.

It is one of the 79 schools currently being rebuilt under an existing public private partnership, as the executive wants private finance initiatives to be known.

Public private partnerships mean that private companies carry out the work on behalf of the council and are paid back over a period of up to 30 years.

Ms Jamieson said: "This 1.15bn package represents investment on an unprecedented scale and will address the legacy of under-investment in school buildings.

"Across Scotland, new schools will be built with the latest facilities and old schools will be revamped."

Ms Jamieson also announced 26m for immediate school repairs across Scotland, saying too many school buildings belong to the 19th century.

Dancing pupils
New facilities will be provided for pupils

She added: "Cold, damp classrooms have no place in a modern, learning environment."

However, the executive announcement comes within days of an Accounts Commission for Scotland report that said councils should be given more choice in deciding how to pay for building and upgrading schools.

The Commission said local authorities could gain "real benefits" from private finance initiatives, but should not be forced to rely solely on this method of funding.

The report, which examined funding schemes affecting 65 Scottish schools, found that they cost more than if councils were able to borrow the money themselves.

See also:

12 Jun 02 | Scotland
06 Sep 01 | ppp
03 Sep 01 | ppp
20 Aug 01 | Scotland
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