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Ayrshire Councils Pay A Staggering £32 Million A Year To Private Companies

Friday, April 7, 2017

GMB Scotland Reveals Ayrshire Councils Pay Staggering £32 Million A Year To Private Companies For Just A Dozen Schools

Private companies stand to make a millions in ‘absurd’ waste of taxpayer’s cash, says GMB Scotland

Ayrshire councils pay back a staggering £32 million every year to private companies for just a handful of schools [1], GMB Scotland figures reveal.

South, North and East Ayrshire local authorities fork out approximately £2.6 million every month – or £600,000 a week – into the hands of clutches of profit-driven businesses.

The astonishing figures come from a Freedom of information Request (FOI) submitted by GMB Scotland. [2]

Under PPP agreements set up by the councils, firms front up the cash for investment projects such as schools, but are then paid back obscene amounts from the public purse over decades-long contracts.

They are popular because the initial outlay stays off the council’s balance sheet – but the taxpayer often pays up to 10 times the cost of the project.

All three councils are already struggling for cash to provide services for the people of Ayrshire, yet millions of pounds from local council tax payers will go to profit making private companies who are cashing in on these contracts.

Paul Arkison, GMB Scotland Organiser, said:

 "This is a completely absurd amount of money for a local authority the size of South Ayrshire Council to be paying in PPP payments.

 Many GMB members in Ayrshire have seen their hours of work cut and are worried about their futures, yet this sickening amount of money gets paid to greedy private companies who have no interest or care for the good people of South Ayrshire."

Many of our members who work in these schools are employed by the private companies and are denied the Scottish Living Wage by this profit making penny pinching company, and it is high time that Ayrshire councils ordered a review of these contract."


Contact: Paul Arkison on 07801 656533 or at

Notes to editors:

[1] List of schools funded by the PPP contracts:

South Ayrshire Council

Barassie Primary

Monkton Primary

Prestwick Academy

Belmont Academy

Alloway Primary


North Ayrshire Council

Greenwood Academy

St Matthews Academy

Stanley Primary

Arran High School

East Ayrshire Council

Grange Campus

St Joseph’s Primary

Shortlees Primary.


[2] Details of FOI requests:


South Ayrshire

Could you provide me with South Ayrshire Council's total financial payment for PPP Costs for Financial Year 2017/18?

The total budget set for 2017/18 is £10,806,855. 

This is subject to change as the actual financial payments are not available until end of March 2017


North Ayrshire

Thank you for your request for information dated 08/03/2017.

Following your email of the 14 March requesting payment figures for 2016/17, please find our response below.

I can confirm that the total spend for 2016 / 2017 was £12,492,144.


East Ayrshire

Dear Mr Arkison

With regard to your Freedom of Information request I can advise the estimated budget for the financial year 2017-2018 will be £9,992,440.