SFT rejects Labour report criticism

The Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) has rebutted criticisms in a new report commissioned by Scottish Labour, saying the study contains “a large number of significant flaws”.

An independent report undertaken by academics Jim and Margaret Cuthbert on behalf of Scottish Labour had questioned the efficiencies that the SFT claims to have delivered and raised concerns that private lenders in Hub and non-profit distributing (NPD) deals had been given unduly generous contract terms.

However, SFT chief executive Barry White has issued a robust response, pointing out that NPD and Hub deals have “secured much better financial terms than on historic PFI deals”.

He added: “The Cuthberts’ report overstates the cost of bank interest, estimating it at over 5% when across the programme it is 4%, or even lower currently.”

White also challenged the report’s criticisms of a lack of transparency around privately financed projects in Scotland.

“We are very open and transparent with the unitary charges of all revenue funded projects being published. The Report overlooked the fact that our standard contract terms assumes publication of almost all commercial data two years after a building opens which had been unheard of previously,” he said.

“SFT works with fellow public sector partners and uses a wide range of innovative approaches to enable local investment which in turn is supporting thousands of jobs across Scotland.”