It was an interesting spectacle at last week's West Dunbartonshire Council meeting to see the council leader, Ronnie McColl, and the leader of the opposition, Martin Rooney, almost wetting themselves with excitement as they both agreed to borrow £35m from the banks in a deal that will see the council taxpayers repay £75m for the privilege.
Deal or no deal? Many readers will remember Private Finance Initiative (PFI) under the Tories. This was essentially a scam to use public money to increase the profits of large private construction companies. When PFI was exposed the Labour Government renamed it and called it Private Public Partnership (PPP). All that changed was the name. Public money was still used to increase the profits of essentially the same large private construction companies. The SNP council signed up to PPP for new schools and the council taxpayer will repay over £400m for around £100m of investment. Deal or no deal? PPP has been exposed as the same as its predecessor with even the SNP Government in Edinburgh calling it "the most expensive method" of procuring public buildings. Now the SNP and Labour are joined at the hip in PPP mark three, which is called 'securitisation' or 'sweating the assets"'as it is more commonly known. This is where you borrow money from the banks, against the rental income of your property portfolio over the next 30 years. Again it is a model that transfers huge amounts of much-needed cash away from public services to the private banks at a time when the SNP council is slashing hundreds of council jobs, cutting vital services and increasing service charges for the young, elderly, sick and disabled.
Rather than the excitement Ronnie and Martin share, they should share a sense of betrayal by once again robbing the public purse to bolster the profits of the greedy bankers.
Councillor Jim Bollan