Public sector takes private reins

5 September 2007
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06 September 2007 | Gareth Mytton

The public sector is to take a bigger role in two major projects that were in the hands of private contractors.

In the first case, the Scottish Executive has halted the procurement for a privately run prison in East Dunbartonshire. The jail at Bishopbriggs, a £100 million replacement for the Low Moss prison, will still be built by the private sector, but operated by the Scottish Prison Service. Kenny MacAskill, the executive's justice secretary, said: "We are drawing a clear line in the sand in terms of future policy with the decision to stop and restart the procurement of a replacement prison at Bishopbriggs."

However, two other prisons - Addiewell and Kilmarnock - will be built and operated privately owing to "the cost and complexity of reversing previous procurement policies".

Meanwhile, Transport for London (TfL), the public authority responsible for transport in the capital, has lodged a formal "expression of interest" to take over maintenance firm Metronet, which is now in administration. Metronet was responsible for the upkeep of nine Tube lines under a public-private partnership deal sealed in 2003.

TfL anticipates submitting a formal bid to administrators by the end of this month.


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