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Non-Profit Distribution: The Scottish Approach to Private Finance in Public Services

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 July 2009

Mark Hellowell
Centre for International Public Health Policy, University of Edinburgh E-mail:
Allyson M Pollock
Centre for International Public Health Policy, University of Edinburgh


This article provides an analysis of the Scottish Government's approach to the use of private finance in public services. It examines the budgetary drivers behind the policy in Scotland and assesses its cost-efficiency. In doing so, it considers first the standard private finance initiative (PFI) model, and then turns to the ‘non-profit distributing’ (NPD) model – a variant of PFI developed in Scotland and one that is, at the time of writing, unique to the country. It concludes that, while NPD provides the Government with an important political benefit, in being seen to safeguard the ‘public interest’ while working within UK-wide budgetary constraints, the decision to continue with private finance carries a high economic cost.

Themed Section on Social Policy in the Devolved Scotland: Towards a Scottish Welfare State?
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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