Recently I posted on the lack of information the public were receiving about the Scottish Futures Trust, the Scottish Government's answer to the excesses of the PFI system of public funding.
Today the SFT is receiving further bad press, in the form of a poorly written article, from the Scotland on Sunday. Two of Scotland's most respected economists Jim and Margaret Cuthbert, claim the SFT is no better than the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) it replaced.
The economists argue that ministers have 'needlessly' ensured that 'some of the worst features of the old PFI would be carried on.'
In the Scottish Left Review, the Cuthberts produce new evidence on the old PFI scheme which shows that, in some cases, there was hardly any proper competition for tenders for school buildings. Some of the contracts were worth up to £300 million. On top of that, they claim that such were the size of the contracts, middle-sized Scottish firms were locked out of the process, denying the Scottish economy potential business.
The Cuthberts argue that the SFT is making the same mistakes.
Since councils introduced 'best value' some years ago, small companies were excluded from the tendering process and I know several local business which have closed over the years because they were unable to survive without their council contracts. The requirements of the 'best value' tenders were financially too great.
My knowledge of the internal workings of the Scottish government is negligible, but I suspect Alex Salmond and John Swinney won't be very happy to read the Cuthbert's comments today. Could I suggest a hastily arranged meeting with the Cuthberts may be fruitful and then a press release from the Scottish government giving us the full facts?
Of course Scotland wouldn't be having to pay out such excesses if we had our own fiscal policy and like all other countries were able to borrow for capital projects.
Scottish labour don't need to seek out their troubles today either. Anne Moffat, MP for East Lothian, has been deselected by her local party. That's Anne Moffatt of the £45,ooo annual travel costs fame and the one who was allegedly robbed of her jewelry, by some of today's youth, when out walking.