Paul Edie: Independent inquiry vital in finding PPP truth

Picture: Toby Williams

Picture: Toby Williams

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AN independent inquiry is vital to get to the truth behind the city’s PPP school building scandal, says Paul Edie

THE current crisis in our PPP schools was, appropriately, the heart of much discussion at last week’s council meeting.

The council has been right to focus on getting pupils back to school as best as they can in these last few weeks. I have heard nothing but praise for the staff at our schools who are trying to deliver a first-class education while putting up with all the disruption that such decants involve.

All that being said, I am getting a number of concerns from parents of children in S1-3 alarmed at some of the interim arrangements and the impact on their children’s education. The council management I know are working hard to resolve these as best as they can but we cannot take our eye off that ball on this. Merely having them back in school is not enough.

I think it is also vital that we learn exactly what has gone wrong to get us into this situation.

Council leader Andrew Burns stated at last week’s council meeting that he believed that this is a failure of building and not the controversial PPP contract. In doing so he has, so far, rebuffed demands from councillors, including from me, for a full independent inquiry.

Councillor Burns may well be right about the causes of this, I suspect he is, but here is the rub; as he is someone who voted for that PPP contract and as he is someone who then went on to become education leader a short period after this, Cllr Burns is somewhat conflicted. As such we need someone external and independent looking at this issue to tell us what went wrong.

The best we have had from him so far has been that we will talk about it later. I personally find it inconceivable that we will not have an independent inquiry and I cannot understand why he will not commit to it now. The parents and children affected by all of this deserve to know the truth.

• Paul Edie is Lib Dem councillor for Corstorphine/Murrayfield Ward