THE MSP for Inverclyde has slammed 'rotten' private finance contracts that he says are eating into the area's education budget.

Stuart McMillan says £20m was wasted paying back debts from the private finance initiatives (PFIs) that were used to fund new local schools.

The SNP man cited research from the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) and said that the amount being spent by Inverclyde Council was 25 per cent of its education resource funding.

He said: “The rotten PFI contracts were introduced by the Tories but supercharged by the Labour-led Scottish Government and unnecessarily cost councils across Scotland, including in Inverclyde.

“It is incredible that the lasting legacy of Labour governments continues to be felt as schools’ budgets are eaten up significantly by these wretched contracts.

“The SNP scrapped PFI contracts, meaning that money can be spent on Scotland’s young people and not on absurdly expensive contracts."

The deals, known as Public Private Partnerships, were used to build four Inverclyde schools - Clydeview Academy, Notre Dame High, pictured, Aileymill Primary, pictured, and All Saints Primary.

The contracts were signed in 2008 with approval from the Scottish Government and the terms for the duration of the agreement also included maintenance, cleaning and other works associated with the upkeep of the respective school buildings.

Council leader Stephen McCabe, who was in charge when the Inverclyde schools PFI deals were signed off, today disputed Mr McMillan's figures.

He also said that the Inverclyde schools' PPP was backed by the SNP.

Mr McCabe said: "Our PPP was approved in 2008 - 13 years ago - by an SNP Scottish Government on the basis it represented value for money against the public sector comparator.

"We could not have proceeded with the PPP without the financial support offered by that SNP government.

"The PPP was also supported by the council’s SNP group in 2008.

"I am not sure where SPICe have got their figures from, but our chief financial officer has advised me that our annual PPP payments are just over £10m and we receive £6m a year in grant from the Scottish Government, meaning that the net cost to the council is £4m, not the £20m quoted by Mr McMillan.

"Mr McMillan also implies that the council has multiple PPP contracts when we only have one."