Reclassification hits Aberdeen Bypass


The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has classified Scotland’s Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) to the public sector, throwing the Scottish government’s non-profit distributing (NPD) programme into further difficulty.

The European Union’s recent changes to accounting rules, known as ESA 10, had already delayed a number of Hub schemes and raised questions over the way in which NPD projects are structured, by making it more difficult for projects to be treated as off-balance sheet.

However, the latest decision from the ONS raises further questions about the future of other schemes under the NPD programme, with the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) working to create new model that will enable projects to remain off the government’s books.

In June, the Scottish government introduced a change to the ownership model of Hub schemes to tackle the problem, but it appears more work needs to be done.

The ONS has also confirmed its intention to review two further signed NPD schemes: the Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary (DGRI) and the Edinburgh Royal Hospital for Sick Children. It will provide a decision on both of these before the end of the year.

“In light of today’s opinion on an NPD project I am considering whether further changes are required to the Hub model,” said Scottish Deputy First Minister John Swinney. “There is likely to be some further impact on the delivery timetable for Hub projects that are in the current pipeline. The Scottish Futures Trust will engage closely with project partners to discuss the implications for them.”

Despite the potential for the decisions to significantly impact the way in which future deals are structured, the Scottish government has insisted they will have no impact on the cost or delivery timetable for signed projects. - See more at: 

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