'Brick for brick' funding must be delivered soon

12th October 2007 at 01:00
I welcome your coverage on school buildings in Scotland and the debate about five specific schools in Edinburgh (TESS last week).

I would like to clarify the position and repeat my statement that "we had a firm commitment to refurbish or rebuild those five schools". For the avoidance of doubt, a dictionary definition of commitment is "a pledge or a promise".

Our Edinburgh manifesto for the elections did have a firm commitment to build eight new schools in Edinburgh, adding to the 20 new or refurbished ones we had already made possible; and our national manifesto had a commitment to build a further 250 schools across Scotland in the lifetime of the current Parliament.

These Labour commitments were echoed in the SNP's Edinburgh manifesto, which stated they would "match the existing building programme brick for brick, financed through a lower-cost bond-based system". Its national manifesto stated "we will match the current school building programme brick for brick, and offer an alternative funding mechanism through the Scottish Futures Trust".

Whatever the mechanism, I hope SNP's commitment to match Labour's spending "brick for brick" is delivered sooner rather than later.

Andrew Burns

Labour councillor, Edinburgh City Council

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