Dundee school construction ‘likely to feel impact of EU rule changes’
Construction of the new Baldragon School is likely to be delayed due to funding changes, Dundee City Council has admitted.
New EU rules on accounting means the finance for the project is under increased scrutiny and, although the project itself is not under threat, the planned programme for the funding is subject to delays and the “financial close” will not be met by the expected time.
The news was broken by Labour councillor Lesley Brennan, who had raised fears over the effect of the EU changes on the V&A project with finance director Marjory Stewart.
In response, Ms Stewart told Ms Brennan: “I would confirm that this EU accounting rule change will not impact on the V&A project.
“The only project which this applies to is Baldragon School which is being financed through a Hub DBFM model which is funded by Scottish Government.
“We are in regular discussion with Scottish Futures Trust who administer the Schools Programme on behalf of the Scottish Government and are aware of the steps that are being taken to ensure that the funding and accounting arrangements satisfy the new EU accounting requirements.
“Whilst this will probably delay the financial close for this project, we will monitor the effect on the overall programme and this will be reported through the Strathmartine Project Board.
“In addition a report will be brought to policy and resources committee once we reach financial close.”
Ms Brennan told The Courier: “This news of a probable financial delay has come as a shock.
“The effect of this EU ruling has to be resolved as quickly as possible by the Scottish Government.
“Schools are always at the heart of every community.
“That is why it is important that the construction of the new school has to be protected from financial uncertainties.”
Mr Keenan said: “It gives me considerable concern that this information comes to light less than a week after council set a budget.”
The council’s education convener Stewart Hunter said he had been made aware of the issue.
He said: “We are committed to improving the school estate in Dundee and, along with our current projects at Harris, Coldside and Menzieshill, Baldragon is a key part to our multi-million-pound investment in schools in Dundee.”
The new building, designed by Holmes Miller Partnership and to be built by Robertson Construction, was approved back in September last year after councillors unanimously agreed to add extra conditions on to the application.