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EDITIONS
 Monday, 30 December, 2002, 08:08 GMT
Scots culture 'undermined' by PFI
Dancers
The executive has been consulting on culture
Private finance initiatives (PFI) are undermining efforts to boost culture north of the border, a leading trade union has warned.

Joe Di Paola, of Unison Scotland, said PFIs and other privatised projects "work against successful community-based cultural work".

In a submission to the Scottish Executive, which is consulting on its national cultural strategy, the union also called for national standards to be drawn up to help councils improve local cultural work.

Mr Di Paola said: "These type of projects reduce much-needed flexibility - as we saw recently with the need to renegotiate contracts in Glasgow's schools.

Even in areas where there are standards, like public libraries, some authorities don't adhere to them!

Chris Barter
Unison

"PFIs are more expensive, leaving less money for the service and are driven by profit, and not by the best service for the community."

Another union official, Chris Barter, said the importance of the role of culture in communities had been recognised, but that it was not backed by legislation.

He said: "It is sad that the weakness of Scottish legislation in the cultural arena has not been addressed.

"Even in areas where there are standards, like public libraries, some authorities don't adhere to them."

Mr Barter said the executive's guidelines had also failed to include key players in local cultural work, such as community groups, service users and staff.

The executive began consulting on 16 September after unveiling its draft guidelines.

The consultation period is due to end on 13 January.

Culture minister Mike Watson said at the time that the draft guidelines provided "a comprehensive account" of how councils could boost cultural life.

See also:

11 Nov 02 | Scotland
31 Oct 02 | Talking Point
20 Aug 02 | Scotland
09 Aug 02 | Scotland
15 Apr 02 | Scotland
20 Nov 01 | Scotland
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