SNP blasts Labour’s £1bn bill for Addiewell prison

Addiewell Prison. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Addiewell Prison. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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TAXPAYERS have been left with a bill totalling almost £1 billion to pay for privately-run Addiewell Prison in West Lothian.

SNP politicians accused their Holyrood opponents of “sheer incompetence” after it emerged that Scots are paying £3 million a month over 25 years for the private prison – more than ten times its £80m value.

The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) deal, approved by Labour and Liberal Democrat ministers in 2006, will eventually cost around £900m.

Nationalist MSP Sandra White said: “These are staggering sums of money taxpayers are being forced to pay month after month.

“They are the damaging legacy of the previous Labour and Lib Dem administration in 2006.”

The PFI system was set up in a bid to get funding for large projects like schools, prisons and hospitals. It involves companies doing work in exchange for staggered payments over up to 40 years.

The average yearly cost of running a Scottish prison is £22m, but Addiewell, run by private operator Sodexo, is costing £36m a year.

A Labour spokesman said: “Building Addiewell in this way allowed us to press ahead with a prison we desperately needed without taking money from schools and hospitals.

“We also transferred the high running and maintenance costs away from the taxpayer.”