Thursday, 12 March 2009

A sound thrashing

I can think of no better description for First Minister's Questions today than a sound thrashing administered by the First Minister to the Leader of the Opposition (largest party). Iain went on a story that Labour had splaffed to the Scotsman for this morning alleging that the Government was too late to commission any new schools to have them built before the next Holyrood election in 2011.

Leaving aside the fact that schools can be commissioned and built far more quickly if PFI/PPP isn't involved, it's a tactical error to show the route of your advance before you start moving. With the element of surprise having been removed, Alex Salmond played Iain Gray, turning him into dumpling by leading him on, trickling out pieces of information that invited the next question. Iain trundled right into a fusilade of details about schools that have been built by the SNP administration. It was close to being something that you had to turn away from in order to maintain some degree of decorum.

There has been quite a lot of school building under the SNP Government, to whit (not to woo):

1. Schools commissioned or commenced since May 2007 - already opened
· Dunning Primary School (Perth & Kinross) conventional procurement, commissioned October 2007, work began November 2007, opened to pupils October 2008, formally opened by Fiona Hyslop February 2009

· It is the first of a long line of schools commissioned since May 2007 including:
(conventional procurement)
· Dundee – new Kingspark Special School
· West Lothian - major refurbishments of 3 secondaries
· South Lanarkshire – 4 new primaries
· Glasgow - 4 new primaries
· Dumfries & Galloway – new Cargenbridge Primary in Dumfries
· Angus – new Seaview Primary in Monifieth

PPP/NPD projects signed off since May 2007
· Falkirk (NPD) – new Falkirk High and St Mungo's High
· Inverclyde - new Notre Dame Academy & All Saints Primary
· West Lothian - new Armadale Academy & Deans Community High
· East Dunbartonshire - 6 new secondaries
· West Dunbartonshire - 3 new secondaries

2. £2 billion worth of construction on schools.
· More than £1 billion of work underway on major schools projects where construction commenced within the last 18 months
· Signed off funding for 8 local authority projects involving nearly 50 schools, the most recent (October 2008) being Inverclyde’s £80m project.
· Another 3 NPD projects are in the pipeline. Capital value of around £1 billion.
· Well over another £1 billion in schools over the next 3 to 5 years.

3. Already completed 150 school projects - on track to deliver 250 projects.
· 71 projects completed in 2008
· 150 projects completed since May 2007
· School buildings improved for 50,000 pupils and another 50,000 will be helped

4. Scottish Futures Trust will bring even more new investment
· The budget allows the SNP Government to bring forward the next phase of investment in Scotland’s schools

5. Labour matched "Brick for Brick"
· No schools projects commissioned or in the pipeline up to May 2007 have not been proceeded with - even though Labour had left a £60 million funding shortfall.

Seems like not a bad record. Mind how you go!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

weve seen Alex dispatch 2 liebour leaders-reckon the grey one will follow?