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A NEW campaign has been launched to campaign against unsustainable public debt in Scotland and promote alternatives: Protect Our Future.
Protect Our Future: Scotland’s Campaign for Sustainable Public Investment is backed by a range of organisations seeking to campaign against the use of public-private partnerships (PPP) in the building of Scotland’s infrastructure, whether in the form of historic PFI debts or newer Hub and NPD models. Over the 30-40 year lifecycle of these debts the cost will build to up to 4 or 5 times the original build costs; good profits for big business but bad for those who believe taxpayers money should be spent on public services not excessive debt repayments.
Protect Our Future will highlight alternatives to this unsustainable model of building Scotland’s schools and hospitals from its partner organisations, such as Common Weal’s new report proposing a new public-public partnership approach, Unison Scotland’s proposals to tackle historic PFI debts through re-negotiation of contracts and Jubilee Scotland’s global campaigning about debt injustice.
As well as Common Weal, Unison and Jubilee Scotland, other partner organisations include Unite Scotland, New Economics Foundation, Debt Resistance UK , People vs PFI, and the People's Health Movement Scotland.
The campaign will attempt to make the issue of unsustainable debt accessible and understandable, as it is usually presented in esoteric language and obscure acronyms. For example, the ‘PFI for Dummies’ article on the website explains PFI in simple and satirical terms.
Protect Our Future will seek to promote the case for public investment: Scotland has a severe underinvestment problem and it’s not the case that it is PPP or no new schools, hospitals and roads. Alternative options are possible. One of these is a Scottish National Investment Bank which could increase levels of overall investment in Scotland significantly, and so much cheaper, as the graphic below from Laurie MacFarlane from NEF’s paper on the subject shows.
Finally, after the closure of PFI-built schools last year, Protect Our Future will also highlight the dangers of bringing the profit-motive into our schools and hospitals.