BUILDING new schools for Milford Haven will be funded using Welsh Government loans if backing is given by full council after 21st century schools money runs out.
Plans for band B projects using the Welsh Government 21st Century schools scheme have a budget of £106.4million with nearly £50million already committed.
The remaining £56million was meant to cover plans for Portfield, Pembrokeshire Learning Centre/PRU, and Milford Haven secondary and primary improvements but costs and the amount of work have risen and there is now a funding shortfall of nearly £45million, cabinet heard this week.
Pembrokeshire County Council’s cabinet member for finance Cllr Bob Kilmister outlined that the preferred option to ensure that the schemes went ahead was to use to use a Mutual Investment Model (MIM).
This, Cllr Kilmister, said was the updated version of a PFI scheme and would impact the council’s revenue budget, with a suggestion that a council tax increase of 0.27 per cent per year – £3.21 to £3.25 a year – from 2022 to 2026 be put in place to ensure funding.
The MIM cannot be used for special school projects so full council will be asked to approve the funding of those projects using the remanding band B funding and use the MIM to fund the Milford Haven schools, cabinet decided.
Cabinet member for education Cllr Guy Woodham said at Monday’s (September 6) meeting there was general agreement that “there’s a sound educational rational for delivering all of the projects in band B” with finance the key issue.
“We’re not going to find a solution that suits everyone unless someone wants to donate £50million to build new schools,” added Cllr Woodham.
Cllr Tessa Hodgson expressed concerns about the MIM and the potential impact on council budgets, particularly social care, but said she would support the recommendation, as did the remaining cabinet members.