UK: EIB Loan of EUR 35 million for Education in Cornwall The European Investment Bank (EIB) provides a EUR 35 million loan (approx. GBP 23.5) for the upgrading of the education infrastructure of Cornwall (South West England), an assisted region (Objective 1 area). The project covers the construction, refurbishment and maintenance of 1 secondary and 16 primary schools located around the towns of Truro and Penryn and it is financed under the Public-Private-Partnership scheme (PPP).

The project aims at modernising school infrastructure and providing updated school facilities. It is fully in alignment with the EIB lending priority to improve the quality and effectiveness of education and training, facilitating access to education and increasing the accessibility of lifelong learning. It will be implemented under the Concession Contract between the Cornwall County Council and a special purpose concession company owned by Interserve Plc and the Bank of Scotland. Construction and facilities management services will be provided by Interserve Project Services Ltd.

Mr. Peter Sedgwick, EIB Vice-President, commented on the loan stating: The EIB supports the upgrading of the school infrastructure in Cornwall County, an area where the schools estate requires significant investment. The project will help to raise the level of education and is important for the economic growth and social development of this assisted region. Such PPP projects play a key role in the UK government's Private Finance Initiative and make an important contribution to lowering the cost of such strategic investment to the public sector. They also introduce private sector efficiencies and expertise into the construction and maintenance of the project.

The task of the EIB, the European Union's financing institution, is to contribute towards the integration, balanced development and economic and social cohesion of the Member States. Outside the Union the EIB implements the financial components of agreements concluded under European development aid and cooperation policies.

EIB's lending priority of supporting investment leading to the establishment of a knowledge-based society in Europe is based on the conclusions of the EU Lisbon Summit in 2000. The EIB's approach to implementation of the Lisbon Strategy is focused on the links between knowledge creation and the market. It involves all phases of the education cycle, Research and Development, the transformation of innovation into investment, productivity gains and increased competitiveness of the European economy.

Within the recent five years (1999-2003) the EIB loans provided in United Kingdom amount to EUR 15.4 bn. Out of this sum approx. EUR 1.8 bn represented investments in implementation of the Lisbon Strategy focused on developing of a European economy based on knowledge and innovation and development of infrastructure of education and health systems in UK.