Sunday, October 12, 2008

Scottish government could save £1bn a year with project bank accounts

Supporters of project bank accounts hope to persuade the Scottish government to adopt the payment method on all public sector jobs worth more than ВЈ3m.

Specialist Engineering Contractors (SEC) Group chief executive Rudi Klein told CJ he hoped that Scottish ministers would adopt the scheme by 2010.

The focus on Scotland comes after a muted response to project bank accounts south of the Border.

Rider Levett Bucknall, Barclays and Bank of Scotland Corporate held a conference promoting the accounts at the House of Commons in April this year. It was rescheduled after the original conference, planned for November 2007, was postponed because too few clients signed up.

Now a new conference at the Scottish Parliament to promote the payment scheme, at which a prominent Scottish minister will speak, is planned for January 2009.


Scottish government could save £1bn a year with project bank accounts


Klein said: "There are a number of reasons why this would work better in Scotland than it would elsewhere - when you think there are two major elements to policy in Scottish government which are to promote SME interests through the procurement process and secondly to realise cost savings."

He estimated that project bank accounts could save the Scottish government between ВЈ500m and ВЈ1bn a year, as well as helping to safeguard the future of SME construction firms in the country.

He said: "We've had dialogue with ministers, which we got underway about a year ago, as well as civil servants in the Scottish Procurement Office, and there is certainly a willingness to listen."

A Scottish government spokesman said: "We are liaising with OGC and industry groups to assess the impact of project bank accounts elsewhere in UK before considering implications for Scotland."