Row over funding for £30m school

The funding row over the construction of Cumbernauld Academy rumbles on.

Jamie Hepburn wants to know how school will be funded

MSP Jamie Hepburn has written to North Lanarkshire Council demanding details of how exactly they will fund the school, which is estimated to cost around £30m.

Mr Hepburn said: “When North Lanarkshire Council rode roughshod over the views of local residents and pushed through the closure of Abronhill High School, they promised to deliver a new-build Cumbernauld Academy.

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“At no point in that process did the council set out that such a new build would require external funding. Now they are seeking to blame the Scottish Government for delays to a project which they pushed through and which they were confident they could deliver themselves.

“Such promises are all well and good but I know that there is increasing concern at the lack of information and the absence of any clear progress has been made to secure this new premises. I have now written to the Council demanding that they come clean over how they plan to fund the creation of this new school.”

Last week the News and Chronicle reported on NLC slamming the Scottish Government for what it said was its lack of clarity following a change in EU regulations affecting many large scale projects nationwide. The council insisted that the Scottish Government had pledged a share of the cost of the school campus, which will include a new building to rehome Cumbernauld Theatre.

The council’s learning and leisure convener, Jim Logue, said: “Jamie Hepburn’s comments are an absolute disgrace for an elected politician who holds a position in the Scottish Government. To attempt to blame North Lanarkshire Council for what is a national issue smacks of political fear and dishonesty.

“The situation is a national disgrace, with council across Scotland being forced to put major projects on hold until the Scottish Government decides what to do. These projects include the replacement £21 million Kelso High and the proposed £25 million Dalbeattie Secondary amongst others.

“And it’s not only new build schools being affected but a range of projects from Health Centres to road upgrades like the Aberdeen Bypass.

“All of this chaos is because the Government adopted a flawed funding model which is not compliant with European regulations.

“The Scottish Government advised NLC on October 23, 2014 that they would financially support the Academy project. Almost a year later there have been countless promises but not one penny of funding.

“Jamie Hepburn would serve his constituents better if he directed his understandable frustration at John Swinney and not at NLC.”