South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has reiterated his call for the Scottish Government to review all public private partnership contracts with a view to bringing them back in-house under council or Government control, following the threat by Renewi to suspend services at Dumfries and Galloway’s Household Waste Recycling centres.

The MSP originally made the call back in March when he predicted the current PFI would collapse after Renewi said it wanted to pull out its contract with Shanks to provide household waste and recycling services for Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Renewi claimed that they wanted to withdraw from the contract because they had been unable to meet legal changes on new landfill diversion and recycling requirements set by the Scottish Government. The move followed months of negotiations to amend the contract to take account of the law changes.

Commenting on the latest move South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said “The move by Renewi four months ago to try to get out of the contract was inevitable when the Scottish Government changed the rules around recycling. The contract has never made a profit for the private companies involved. They tried to amend the contract to frankly fleeze the council and get more money out of the taxpayer so they could make a big profit but when that failed they announced they wanted to walk away”.

“Their latest threat to close the gates on household waste and recycling centres really are bully boy tactics and show that companies like this shouldn’t be allowed to run what are vital public services. Although ultimately the contract is between Shanks and Renewi, not the council, the best solution would be for this service to be brought back in-house to the council and Renewi not the council tax payer should pick up the bill to do this because they are the ones who want to walk away from their contractual responsibilities. The council should also work to bring staff employed on the contract by Renewi into the council employment to deliver these services. No one should lose their jobs locally as a result of the utter failure of Renewi to deliver this contract”.

“What this whole issue shows is that these services are better delivered by the public sector rather than by the private companies like Renewi whose number one aim is to make a profit. It is time the Scottish Government reviewed all such contracts to find a way to bring them back in-house into the public sector where we aren’t held at the mercy of the big business profiteers and threats like this can be avoided.”

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