The European Investment Bank (EIB), the long-term investment arm of the European Union, is lending GBP 70 m to the North Lanarkshire Council Education 2010 PPP Project. This project will provide for the construction and maintenance of 3 secondary schools and 18 primary schools located throughout the towns and environs of North Lanarkshire.

This operation is expected to contribute to the economic growth and development of the North Lanarkshire region, an EU objective 2 area with relatively high unemployment levels and underlying economic difficulties. The project falls under the objectives of the Lisbon strategy for the construction of a knowledge based society. The EIB, through its lending activities, is an active promoter of this EU-wide policy. The loan will enhance the educational environment in this Scottish region as well as providing lifelong learning facilities for wider community use.

The project will take the form of a Public Private Partnership (PPP) as part of the UK government's Private Finance Initiative. EIB funds will be provided directly to a special purpose concession consortium, Transform Schools (North Lanarkshire) Funding plc, jointly sponsored by Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Investments Limited and Innisfree PFI Fund III. The private partners have extensive knowledge and experience of implementing and financing UK education PPP projects and will design, construct and manage the building works under a concession of up to 32-years granted by the public partner, North Lanarkshire Council.

EIB VP Sedgwick commented: "The EIB is delighted to be involved with this project which we consider to be of the utmost importance in terms of the educational benefits it will bring to North Lanarkshire. The loan confirms the EIB's commitment to the promotion of education and regional development within the expanded EU. The UK remains a European leader in PPP ventures, and this operation is a prime example of how the public and private sectors can work together for the good of the extended community".

North Lanarkshire Council's Chief Executive Mr Whitefield stated: the Council is delighted to have brought this extremely important project for the Council to close which will provide the environment to enable people of all ages to participate in education and leisure activities and the Council welcomes the involvement of and financial benefit from the EIB's participation.

This is the eighth PPP education project co-funded by the EIB in the UK. Facilitating the improvement of education facilities within the EU on both a regional and national basis is an area of priority lending for the EIB.