Work on capital projects underway after EU rule change delay

Artist's impression of the new Kelso High School, one of the 12 capital projects that were delayed. Picture: Contributed
Artist's impression of the new Kelso High School, one of the 12 capital projects that were delayed. Picture: Contributed
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Construction is due to begin shortly on the first of 12 capital investment projects delayed after changes to European Union (EU) rules.

Work on the new £25 million Ayr Academy in South Ayrshire will get under way later this month after the project got the financial go-ahead, with nine more new schools and two health centres to ­follow.

The projects, worth £330m, are being built through the Scottish Government’s hub funding model, under which public bodies team up with a private partner. The plans were put on hold after Ministers sought advice from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) on whether they would be classified as private or public following changes to EU accounting guidelines.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced in November that ONS had concluded that hub projects could be classified to the private sector after revisions to the model were made by the Scottish Futures Trust.

The move means that Government support can be drawn from the long-term resource budget as previously intended.

The ONS had earlier ruled that the £745m Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) must be classed as a public sector project, putting it on to the Government’s balance sheet.

Mr Swinney said: “This is an important milestone for Ayr Academy, and I am pleased that construction for this new state-of-the-art facility will begin by the end of this month.

“These developments will make an enormous difference in local communities, not just from the jobs that the construction will bring, but in the health and education benefits they will provide to local people.”

The other projects are: The Lothian health centre bundle; Inverclyde Care Home; Kelso High School in the Borders; Newbattle High School in Midlothian Council; Baldragon Academy in Dundee; Elgin High School in Moray; Dalbeattie Learning Campus in Dumfries and Galloway; Barrhead High School in East Renfrewshire; Our Lady and St Patrick’s High School in West Dunbartonshire; Campbeltown Grammar and Oban High School in the Argyll and Bute region; and the East Ayrshire Learning Campus in East Ayrshire Council.